Life in the fast lane

Position on race team is a ‘dream job’ for Jeremy Baker

by Marianne Morf
    Jeremy Baker is living life in the fast lane these days.   The really fast lane.
    The 2007 Clear Lake High School graduate made a pitstop in Clear Lake this week on his way to his next assignment as a member of the Penske Racing team.  Saturday he’ll be at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa

for the IZOD IndyCar Race.  Baker is a mechanic and rear tire changer on the Ryan Briscoe team.
    “It’s pretty much a dream job for me,” said Baker, who now lives in Mooresville, N.C., in the heart of southern racing.  “I’m doing what I really like and I’ve traveled quite a bit.”
    Baker’s involvement in the race car industry has happened at race car speed.  After completing a one-year program at North Iowa Area Community College, he pushed himself to complete a NASCAR Technical program in North Carolina in 11 months.  An internship offer from Penske followed, and just a few months later he was asked to join the IndyCar Team.  For the past two years he’s traveled to race tracks, testing vehicle performance and readying cars for Briscoe to race.
    Last year the race circuit included a trip to Japan. This year, he’s already been to Brazil and Indianapolis for the famed Indy 500.  His 2012 travels will also include Milwaukee, Detroit, Texas, Toronto, Edmonton, Ohio, Baltimore and California before the season ends in the fall.
    “There’s race fans everywhere,” said Baker.  “The crowds are amazing and the places we’ve raced are all different.”
    They are a far cry from racing in North Iowa, but that’s where Baker said he was over the weekend, watching one of the racers he used to help get a win at the North Iowa Fairgrounds race track.
    “I used to help Stac Schroeder and traveled some with Al Hejna (another successful Clear Lake racer) when I was in high school.  It was good to get back and see a lot of the people I spent a lot of time with.”
    Baker said that while he has always loved racing, it’s really the mechanics of the cars which interest him the most. 
    “At the start of the season we spent six to eight weeks testing and figuring out performance. The driver tells us how it’s handling and we look at the speed.  We study the geometry of the car and try to make it faster, within the - Read More Via e-Edition

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