Alan is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who came to the United States in 2015. He studied at Western Michigan University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. In 2020, he moved to Indianapolis to pursue his Master’s in Motorsports Engineering at IUPUI—in the center of the Racing Capital of the World. Now, he works as a Performance Engineer for the professional driving simulator at Dallara USA.
Indianapolis is the best place to work in the motorsports industry.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Indianapolis? Motorsports!
My dream has always been to work for a racing team, and everyone knows that Indianapolis is the Racing Capital of the World. But when I moved here, I discovered that Indy is a wonderful city that shouldn’t just be famous for race cars. It’s a city that accepts me for who I am, a community filled with great people, and a place that I now call home.
My first home will always be my native country—the Dominican Republic. But the motorsports scene there is very limited. I was looking for a golden ticket to get my foot in the door of racing, and moving to Indianapolis was the first step toward fulfilling my dream. Thanks to my education at IUPUI, I felt prepared enough to start knocking on doors around the Speedway area, talking to different teams and manufacturers.
After some interviews, I finally got an opportunity to join a local racing team in the INDY NXT Series. This gave me the chance to learn more about the industry and meet like-minded people who shared my passion for racing. I also developed a greater understanding of driving simulations and how they can enhance the performance of racing teams and their cars.
Now, I am the Driver in the Loop (DiL) Simulations Engineer at Dallara! In this position, I get to help drivers and engineers improve their performance in a variety of racing series. My job lets me experience the intricacies of on-track racing and run DiL simulator sessions with some of the best teams and drivers in the world. And together, we correlate our efforts to create state-of-the-art solutions that help teams achieve the highest performance possible from our race cars.
All of these activities sounded like a dream when I first moved here, but Indianapolis has helped make my dreams a reality.
Nothing compares to being in the Racing Capital of The World!
Did you know that IUPUI has the only exclusive Master’s Program in Motorsports Engineering in the United States. Incredible, right?
After I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, I started looking for other opportunities to gain experience in the racing industry. I knew from the beginning that Indy would be the best place to pursue my dream—and the Master’s Program was only part of it. Indianapolis has always been my first choice because of all the jobs and opportunities available here.
Right in our backyard, we have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS)—the oldest continually operating racetrack in the world. Each year, they host the Indianapolis 500, where more than 300,000 people come to see the world’s largest single-day sporting event. IMS also hosts a variety of different races on the INDYCAR calendar, as well as competitions from other racing series.
From NASCAR to GT Racing, the track is usually busy all year long. So, if you’re interested in motorsports, there’s no better place to be. You’ll gain a lot of experience, connections, and opportunities for employment just by being here.
But Indianapolis has more than just motorsports. Since I started living here, I’ve discovered that Indy has just about every sport under the sun. There’s basketball with Indiana Pacers, baseball with the Indianapolis Indians, football with the Indianapolis Colts, and even soccer with the Indy Eleven. Indy also has a strong community of local athletes—with plenty of sports leagues, athletic events, and marathons in the area.
Another pleasant discovery was the music scene here in Indianapolis. There are a lot of concerts in the area, now that popular artists are integrating Indy into their tour schedule. But what really impressed me were the dance studios! Of course, being from the Dominican Republic, Latin Dancing is my jam. I started attending classes at Latin Expressions, and I love dancing at the studio.
In my opinion, these different events and activities make it easier for new residents to integrate themselves into the community—and meet different people from different cultures along the way.
But those aren’t the only advantages of Midwestern living.
Have you ever heard of Hoosier Hospitality? Basically, it means that people in Indiana will smile and wave at every person they meet—whether you’re a friend at the supermarket or a stranger on the sidewalk.
From my experience in the Midwest, people here are just a bit kinder and friendlier compared to the rest of the United States. This makes it easier to integrate yourself into the community more fluidly. When I moved here, I still needed a short transition period, but Indy helped me feel like I belonged.
Indianapolis is especially perfect if you’re looking for a city that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Indy offers all the benefits of a big city—without having to navigate through millions of people. The lifestyle here is a bit slower, which means less problems and stress. And Indy’s low cost of living makes a good salary even better.
Indiana also offers a great centralized location, which is one of the biggest advantages of living here. If you want a change of scenery, you’re only a short drive away from major cities like Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis, as well as the entire Michigan coastline.
Within Indianapolis, the best way to get around is driving or calling an Uber. But if you don’t have a car, the city keeps you connected with many bus lines, trails, and public bikeshares. One of the most interesting parts of the city is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail—an 8-mile biking and walking path that runs through the city.
It’s not a typical “green way” that pushes you to leave the city and escape to nature, but the exact opposite! The Cultural Trail is an exploratory urban path that invites you to experience the city by connecting neighborhoods with businesses and attractions. I think it’s a great way to connect different places, communities, and cultures across the city, and I’ve personally used it a lot since I moved here!
If I could go back, I’d still choose Indy.
This is a busy stage of my life, and (fortunately) I don’t have a lot of time to think about the future. But it’s also a major transitional point for me. In a few days, my family is coming to visit for the first time.
Back in the Dominican Republic, Indianapolis is not a very popular destination, but I can’t wait to show them everything Indy has to offer. Finally, my family will get to see first-hand what it’s like here—and why I’ve started calling Indianapolis home.
Indianapolis reminds me greatly of the kind spirit of the Dominican people. The city is becoming more diverse and inclusive by the day. There are several communities where you can find your people, and there’s always opportunities to celebrate the culture around us.
Indianapolis is growing into a truly global city, and I want to be part of that process. After all, I like to think that I’m growing a lot, too. The opportunities this city has offered me are unparalleled, and I look forward to giving back to the community around me.
There are many stories of people moving to Indianapolis, sacrificing comfort and leaving their family to chase their dreams. My story is just one of them—but yours could be the next!