STP 500 Was Special for Martinsville High School Senior

Martinsville High School Senior Andrew Barberena spent the STP 500 as an honorary crew member for Jamie McMurray.

The STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway was special for Andrew Barberena.

The Martinsville High School senior spent the day as an honorary crew member on Jamie McMurray’s team. Barberena went through the morning with team engineers and then spent the race watching from the top of McMurray’s pit box.

“It’s a completely different perspective of what the race is like,” he said. “With the headset on I could hear Jamie and the conversations with the crew and was able to see the stats. It gave me a new vision of what it’s like.”

The opportunity came about after McMurray visited the school’s robotics team in the weeks leading up to the race. Barberena, the captain of the team, is pursuing a career in engineering and would like to work for a race team one day. However, he is no stranger to motorsports, as he has helped his family race at the local level for years.

“It was way different from the racing that I’ve experienced,” Barberena said. “We basically are at home in our garage building a racecar, going out, competing and having fun. We were never engineers or with engineers. We never had computers to look at stats. Being at the race, talking with engineers and looking at the computers and stats; the way they compare things put things on a whole new level that I’d never experienced before. I loved it.”

McMurray, who is aware of Andrew’s aspirations, wanted the day to be an opportunity to see how what he is learning is applied in NASCAR.

“I think Andrew has a goal that he wants to be in racing,” McMurray said. “When you get into algebra and geometry you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this. How am I ever going to use this later on?’

“I hope that kids see that if you want to be a part of NASCAR that is so critical; especially if you want to go into engineering. If you want to be a part of this and make a difference, you have got to really educate yourself now, so you know what to do in the future.”

If that was McMurray’s goal, then the mission was accomplished.

“The best thing I did was be with the team and talk with the engineers,” Barberena said. Having them explain to me all the things they have to tackle before each race.

“One thing that really stood out to me is what I learned from the brakes engineer. He told me how they have to deal with the brakes getting really hot and then when the cool them back down they become warped.”

Not only did Barberena get an up-close view of the career he plans to pursue, he also learned somethings that he can apply immediately to the robotics team.

“Teamwork and communication,” he said. “Jamie’s team, the way the communicate, they all know what they are supposed to do.

“For example, when they started moving the car to the grid, they all knew what to do and just jumped right on it.  That’s one thing I’m going to take to the robotics team. There needs to be a lot more communication and teamwork.”

Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway October 28-30 for the Goody’s® Fast Relief 500 race weekend.  

Friday is Pole Day and Saturday the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is in action for the Alpha Energy Solutions 200.

Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the track for the Goody’s® Fast Relief 500.

Tickets are on sale now and start a just $40 until April 28, when the price increases $5.

To purchase tickets, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit

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