LONG BEACH, Calif. - A sports car, a race, and a life threatening crash, all for a part-time job.

Nicolai Elghanayan, 25, is a professional race car driver. This Sunday— during the Long Beach Acura Grand Prix— he will race in no. 71, a light horsepower sports car.

On the Wednesday before the race he answered student questions before heading back to his day job as an architect. He only started competing professionally in automobile racing after finishing college, but he’s been racing since he was 15, getting his start in Laguna Beach where he raced karts.

“This is the part-time job that I hope can keep on escalating in my life,” said Elghanayan.

Actually, Elghanayan could consider himself lucky up and walking. During his last race he got into a crash.

While it’s much more physically demanding, Elghanayan says racing is as strategic as chess. A terrible crash might slow him down in the short term, but there was no question of it stopping him for good.

“Racing has its ups and downs and it can go from a high to a low in an instant, and I learned from it. We learned from it. I raced the next day,” said Elghanayan.

It’s advice these kindergarteners can hopefully remember and apply to the rest of their lives.