The 2011 NASCAR season is under way.
For fans, it's an exciting time to see if their driver can give Jimmie Johnson competition for the title.
For Kenyatta Houston, it's business as usual.
Houston, 32, of south Mooresville, works for Kevin Harvick Inc. He is a front tire changer for the No. 33 truck in the Camping World Truck Series.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
It might seem like an interesting career for a guy who was born in the Bronx, N.Y., but once he moved to Mooresville as a young kid, he couldn't avoid the draw of auto racing.
"I was familiar (with NASCAR) but wasn't always interested," said Houston, a 1996 graduate of Mooresville High School. "I think I liked Drag Racing and Monster Trucks more growing up."
It was a NASCAR-created program that really sparked Houston's interest in a career in auto racing.
In 2004, NASCAR launched Drive for Diversity, a development program for minority and female drivers and crew members. According to the website, drivefordiversity.com,, the program "helps to further diversify NASCAR's participant and audience base."
To further his training, Houston also started working with Phil Horton, a career athletic trainer, who started Athletic Training Concepts. ATC is a business that involves the merging of coaching, physical fitness and sports medicine. Horton's resume includes athletic training employment with the University of Memphis and the Milwaukee Bucks, as well as a member of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games sports medicine team.
Not long after his position with the Bucks ended, Horton started working with drivers, pit crews and other racing team members on physical fitness and endurance
Houston said he learned the fundamentals of a pit stop from Horton.
Houston is now entering his third racing season with Kernersville-based Kevin Harvick Inc.
"(There's) no emotions at work - it's just a normal day at the office practicing and working out," said Houston. "At the track, it's a whole different ball game. Lots of adrenaline is pumping through your body as the driver pulls up.
"We jump off the wall and start to service the car or truck. After the first lug or two, the rush is gone and the body settles in to perform a good pit stop."
Houston encourages more people to support NASCAR. The sport has been hit hard by the struggling economy over the last several years. More people are watching races from their couch instead of the stands, but Houston says there's no feeling like watching a race at the track.
"The only way you can really experience a NASCAR race is to go to one," he said. "Take the whole family too. They will love you for it."
Houston doesn't see the industry fizzling out.
He says Mooresville is full of history people can take advantage of to learn more about the sport.
But there is still one aspect that confuses even him.
"(It's) in the name... National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. It still confuses me every time I look under the hood," said Houston. "If that's stock, I want one in my Impala tomorrow."
When he isn't working, Houston said he likes to spend time in the studio recording music. He usually works out of a private studio in Mooresville and records music in different genres. He works on music for different local artists and likes to write, make beats, mix and master all tracks, he said.
Houston also dabbles in filming and editing videos.
And if he's not doing that, he says he finds something to work on - from cars to home repairs.