This is the first installment of a new series, featuring those behind the scenes who are an integral part to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
From officials to drivers, crew chiefs to crew members and everyone in between, the K&N Pro Series has some busy, hardworking people traveling with the circuit week to week.
Count Adria Almager among them.
The 39-year-old Wakarusa, Indiana, native works in both the K&N Pro Series East and West. She serves as the media producer for on the East coast (facilitating autograph sessions, pre and post race coverage) and on the technical side, helping with inspection and on pit road on the West coast.
"I like to joke and say I’m a glorified babysitter for the drivers," she said with a laugh.
Almager has been working as a NASCAR official for a decade, but has never had to go back and forth between the two series and roles like she has in 2019.
"I had to remind myself at the beginning of the year," Almager told NASCAR.com. "Because last year I don’t think I did any tech. Going to the West side and doing more of that, I had to refresh myself on rules and everything. But I like it because it gives me more to do. I’m not doing just one thing. I get to enjoy the tech and media side, and I love both. It’s a very happy place for me."
Almager’s journey into the racing world began relatively late. After moving to North Carolina in November of 2007 in her mid 20s, she began interning at Cherokee Speedway, a dirt track in Gaffney, South Carolina, in 2008.
"My family is not from a racing background at all," she said. "Zero racing at all. I didn’t even start getting into racing until around 2003 when a friend of mine took me to Bristol. If you’ve never been to a race, Bristol’s probably the best one to go to. I got into it then."
Almager recalled growing up helping her family on the farm. Her parents also worked in the RV business, where she also spent some time in her early 20s.
So why the choice to go from that to racing?
"I think it was like a 20s midlife crisis of ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ " she joked. "I always liked working on cars, so I started researching colleges and came across the NASCAR Technical Institute. And I’m like ‘wow, it’d be really fun to travel and work on cars,’ and that’s when I was like ‘oh, I should work for NASCAR.’"
Once that was resolved, she set her sights on scoring a job with the company. Originally, she wanted to be a fabricator, but cited the lack of job security with race teams as the deciding factor to not pursue that route.
However, she was determined to work in the sport. "One thing led to another," and she started her career as a NASCAR race official in 2009.
Being around the series for 10 years, Almager has seen her fair share of drivers come through both coasts. From the likes of Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott to Dylan Kwasnewski, Todd Gillland, Tyler Ankrum as well as current drivers like Hailie Deegan, Ruben Garcia Jr. and Derek Kraus, she’s developed strong bonds with the drivers, old and young.
Seeing them move up the NASCAR ladder to the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series brings her great joy and satisfaction, calling herself "almost like a mother."
"It’s like seeing your kid go off to college, graduate and get their dream job," she said. "It’s awesome to see. I know our series isn’t 100 percent development (drivers), but it’s cool to see these kids come in, work their butts off – and team members, I know some that have gone to Cup and got their dream jobs – I’m so happy to see that and so happy for them, especially when they win in the big series. I don’t want to just pull for K&Ners, but it’s hard not to."
Almager iss ready to get back after it in New Hampshire, Iowa, Watkins Glen and then Michigan, where she’ll be working with the Cup Series for the first time in a few years.
"When I first started I wanted to move up to Cup, but I’m really happy where I’m at," Almager reflected. "Our group, we’ve become such a family. I love them the way I love my family."