With drive, Fromayan follows heart to NASCAR – Nascar

Editor’s note: Images courtesy of Georgia Tech athletics/Danny Karnik

A college football player leaving school early to pursue his dream of being in a professional sport is not unusual. In that regard, Eason Fromayan will not be alone when he departs Georgia Tech following the team’s Dec. 31 bowl game with one season of eligibility remaining.

Fromayan, a large fellow at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, has decided to step away from his post as an offensive lineman for the Yellow Jackets after earning his degree this month. His specific path, however, will veer sharply away from all those others with dreams of playing in the NFL.

Call it the road less traveled. He wants to be NASCAR pit crew member.

“I got into NASCAR when I was really little,” Fromayan told NASCAR.com Friday night shortly before making an appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “I would always get die-cast cars and 97-cent Hot Wheels. I loved the Jeff Gordon rainbow die-cast, and I remember I could look at the bottom and it had the year 1997.

“Of course, those were the years he (Gordon) was winning everything. It was really easy to turn on the TV and see the rainbow car. So I just fell deeper into the sport over the years.”

Being a part of NASCAR is an idea that has been a lifetime in the making for Fromayan, but started bubbling to the surface over the past year when he met Dion Williams, former Wake Forest standout and tire carrier for Chase Elliott, during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Williams was one of the first wave of former college athletes to make a serious impact on pit road. Now, NASCAR teams scour college athletics looking for the next great tire carrier or gas man. Pit road is full of college athletes, a trend that is still spiking and not slowing.

Alabama (Rowdy Harrell), Wake Forest (Williams, Nate Bolling, Kevin Harris), Virginia Tech (Caleb Hurd), N.C. State (Asa Watson), Nebraska (Nick Covey) are just some of the colleges with alums pitting, and there are countless others.

“I’ve heard the story about how college athletes are going into NASCAR,” Fromayan said. “So this just seemed like the most direct avenue from college football to NASCAR. It’s just a really direct path to me and my best way into the sport.”

Fromayan may stand out from his collegiate brethren, though, with his sheer knowledge of the sport. He’s been a NASCAR fan first his entire life.

It’s evident in a chat with him as he details how fascinated he is with car setups — “They have the same specifications, so where do some of the teams get these tiny, tiny, tiny fractions of a second that can make all the difference in your season?,” he marvels — and how impressed he is with seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus. “They’ve mastered the past decade,” he says.

The Alpharetta, Georgia, native picked up additional insight over the years by working at Atlanta Motorsports Park, a 0.85-mile track nestled just 4 miles west of Dawsonville.

As a corner marshal, he threw flags when necessary and kept tabs on making sure the competitors were running a clean race.

He also studied.

From his vantage point, he learned such nuances as what helps separate a great driver from a good driver, and a good driver from an average driver.

“I really enjoy that work,” he said. “I think I learned a lot about how the sport works and where people come from, and how to be successful. Being in literally the middle of the track, you pick up so much that you can’t pick up on TV.”

Next up for Fromayan — after his final game against Kentucky in the TaySlayer Bowl, of course — is to pick which development program he’d like to attend. He said “several” have reached out to him. He’s ready to make a decision, and get to work.

Pitting full time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is his ultimate goal. Well, one of them.

His other? The guy who used to dress up as Jeff Gordon from Halloween is targeting a start in the prestigious Rolex 24.

“In that race, I can see there are opportunities for people, even if they didn’t grow up racing sports cars or stock cars,” Fromayan said. “You can eventually find your way. I’m going to try to run in the Rolex 24.”

Then he paused, and added with a bright voice: “It seems like my way to be on track with Jeff Gordon.”

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