Renard glad she landed at NASCAR
July 14, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Photo credit: Scott Hunter
Wickliffe, Ohio native Katy Renard did not imagine she would be working for NASCAR after she graduated from Kent State University with a degree in mathematics. Now, almost seven years on the job, Renard is having the time of her life.
"If you have a passion for something, you need to pursue it," said Renard, who joined NASCAR in October 2007 as a measurement technician in the chassis pre-certification department.
Growing up, Renard always had a knack for math and technology, and had the ability to solve complex problems. But that skill set, in her mind, was better suited for NASA than NASCAR.
After completing her degree, Renard envisioned herself at NASA's Glenn Research Center in nearby Cleveland. But like a pit crew switching out tires during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Renard's career path was changing -- and changing quickly.
Intrigued by the work being done behind the racing scenes, and the technology being implemented to fine tune these automotive powerhouses, Renard realized she was no longer going to trail the pace car. She decided to go for something that at the time might have been considered a long shot.
"It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and desire," continued Renard. "With those three attributes, you can achieve anything."
After some initial research, Renard knew NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) -- NASCAR's official automotive education partner located in Mooresville, North Carolina -- was where she needed to go to have a shot at breaking into the sport. Renard enrolled at the school in the heart of "Race City, USA" in February 2004, and was quickly learning the ins and outs of the vehicles that would eventually define her career.
Renard attended the NASCAR Technical Institute to gain the necessary automotive and racing technology knowledge needed to break into the sport of NASCAR. Photo Credit: NASCAR Tech.
Renard knew quality training was the key to a successful motorsports career, but it was the school's unparalleled industry relationships that caught her attention.
"The partnerships and relationships NASCAR Tech has within the industry is what ultimately led me to the school," remembered Renard. "I knew the school would give me the experience that would allow me to get my foot in the door."
A standout student, Renard graduated from NASCAR Tech in March 2005. With the help of John Dodson, the school's community/NASCAR team relations director, Renard was able to secure a series of interviews with top-tier teams and landed a team engineer position with Fitz-Bradshaw Racing soon after.
"John Dodson was a huge help in getting me interviews and landing that first job (with Fitz-Bradshaw Racing)," said Renard. "I interviewed with a lot of teams that probably wouldn’t have talked to me had I not graduated from NASCAR Tech."
Renard is now manager, rules configuration and parts approval for NASCAR, and loving it.
"I love the technical aspect of my job," said Renard. "I especially enjoy getting to use the coordinate measuring machines."
Based in NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, Renard manages the inspection and certification of NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series chassis ahead of races, and is the primary contact for all technical questions concerning the certification process.
She has the daunting task of not only overseeing every facet of the race car build to ensure it's within regulations, but also any special measurement projects requested by the safety and competition groups.
If things go wrong, she is responsible. But even though she faces pressures of a demanding job, Renard wouldn’t have it any other way.
"I hope to be here for a long time and continue to grow within the company and industry," she said.