Gainbridge® Partner, Rev Racing, Goes the Extra 9,000 Miles for Diversity

Imagine being 19 years old and living 9,000 miles away from home on the other side of the world. That’s the life of Sanjiv Chandrasekar, a sophomore at N.C. State University and an engineering intern for the No. 2 Gainbridge® Chevrolet this summer. It’s a life he intentionally pursued and embraces.

Sanjiv grew up in one of the smaller cities in India, called Tiruppur. It’s best known as a textile hub and for cotton. NASCAR is not exactly popular in India, but when he was 11, his dad, Chandrasekar, came home with a NASCAR video game for his PlayStation. He’s been hooked on motorsports ever since.

Sanjiv’s passion kept growing and through his father’s friend, Mr. Leelakrishnan, he got an opportunity to work for a Rally racing team in India. And not just any Rally racing team. Mr. Leelakrishnan, the owner of the shop, is a 6-time national champion and an F3 champion. He’s well-known in Indian motorsport circles.

So naturally, when Sanjiv was scrubbing through the internship portal in early 2023, an opportunity with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Rev Racing working on the No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet stood out.

He applied and then made the drive over to Mooresville, North Carolina, to interview with Rev Racing. That’s where he first connected with Nick Sanchez’s experienced crew chief, Danny Stockman, who has taken Sanjiv under his wing.

“Getting to watch an experienced racing genius like Danny come up with setup and strategy has been amazing,” said Sanijiv. “I’m really lucky.”

In general, the internship has been beyond his wildest dreams.

“It’s been insane, I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Sanjiv about the experience, which has included going to his first on-site race at North Wilkesboro Superspeedway earlier this season. “It has completely blown my mind. I’ve been around racecars so it wasn’t surprising to see the kind of work that goes into building one, but I’ve never seen this much effort around the car, the SIM (simulator), and driver development.”

The No. 2 team keeps Sanjiv busy. Every day he’s in the shop by seven in the morning. He does everything from documentation to calculation to working on the car with the engineers. That’s during the week. On the weekend, when the No. 2 is on the track, he’s going through pit strategies, listening to other teams on the radio, analyzing SMT data (measures include speed, throttle, brakes) and photos coming in, and more.

When Danny brought him to his first-ever NASCAR race, Sanjiv had a headset on and was right up there in the pit box with the chief.

“That was awesome,” said the electrical and computer engineering double major. “I was looking at who was pitting, who had tires, who didn’t, I was right there with everyone making all the decisions.”

This is all part of what makes Rev Racing an ideal partner for Gainbridge. Rev Racing is the competition arm for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and their mission is to give people like Sanjiv, who never envisioned having this opportunity, a chance.

“I watch a lot of Formula One and IndyCar and Le Mans and I haven’t really seen a lot of racing teams focused on community building and diversity. I’m around the team and the trailer and everyone is super inclusive.”

Sanchez, the driver, has become less of a colleague and more of a friend. They are similar in age and share a curiosity for the strategy, engineering, and mechanics of the sport. It doesn’t stop at the shop. They recently went carting after work and always go to lunch when Nick comes into the shop, which is frequent.

While Sanjiv still has two more years of college, this summer’s internship has solidified his goals.

“I would love to work here in Mooresville if I was given the opportunity (after college). What I’ve experienced so far is exactly what I’m looking for.”

And while his parents don’t watch the No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet on FS1 in India due to the time difference, they do watch highlights on YouTube when they wake up. Recently, when Nick won the pole at Nashville Superspeedway and finished third, Sanjiv’s phone was blowing up the next day with notes from his dad.

Even 9,000 miles away, he remains connected to his family in India while building a career with Rev Racing in North Carolina.

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