NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 83: Travis Geisler, Team Penske’s jack of all trades
When he moved into a newly created role at Team Penske more than six years ago, Travis Geisler had a title but lacked a job description.
The team advised told him to figure out what being its director of competition would entail.
It’s included being a hiring manager, a liaison between the racetrack and race shop and sometimes a travel agent – depending on the day and the forecast.
“You have to have the logistics buttoned up, and there’s no one better than who’s sitting at the track and understands the needs and where people need to go,” Geisler said on the NASCAR on NBC podcast. “Sometimes I end up figuring out rental cars and airplane tickets, and that’s OK. At that moment, it’s the best I can do for the team.
“Some days it’s more managerial and administrative like finding a mechanic.”
The most important part of Geisler’s job is keeping Team Penske’s road crews connected with its Mooresville, N.C., headquarters. A mechanical engineering graduate of Vanderbilt, he worked as a race engineer and crew chief (with Sam Hornish Jr. from 2008-10) at Penske before his current position.
That breadth of knowledge and relationships helps accelerate the pace of implementing improvements to Penske’s cars. When a power steering problem cropped up at Richmond International Raceway in a Friday practice, a few calls and some overnight work had a solution shipped in with Penske’s Xfinity pit crews the following day. On Sunday, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski finished 1-2 in the race.
“I can promise you on any weekend, any time of the night we call, those guys are on it,” Geisler said. “Sometimes, it’s someone comes in the shop and we fly something up on Sunday morning to get it in the car.”
Other topics covered on the podcast:
--Why Geisler and his supervisor, Team Penske vice president of operations Michael Nelson, work hard to reduce the demands on crew chiefs Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon;
--The balance between working on long-range “game-changing” development vs. weekly refinement of the race car;
--The essence of team owner Roger Penske.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.