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  • NASCAR Drive for Diversity 2016 Drivers announced: After a competitive Combine event last October, six drivers were selected to the 2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) class and will join the industry's premier development program for multicultural and female drivers, and pit crew members. Talented drivers from across the Americas will compete for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and attempt to follow in the footsteps of D4D graduates and current NASCAR national series drivers Kyle Larson, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suárez. The 2016 class will be formally introduced to the industry as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour on Jan. 19.
    "NASCAR remains steadfast in its mission to develop multicultural and female athletes and we believe this class has the potential to compete at the highest levels of our sport," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "The talent pool from which these drivers were selected was unprecedented for NASCAR Drive for Diversity - a testament to the program's growth and success."
    Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2016 class is led by returning driver Collin Cabre and newcomer Rubén Garcia Jr., fresh off his NASCAR Mexico Series championship last fall.
    The 2016 D4D roster includes:
    Collin Cabre: After an impressive first year with D4D in which he won the season finale at Dover International Speedway and finished in the top 10, the 22-year-old from Tampa will again compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
    Rubén Garcia Jr.: At age 20, the Mexico City native won four races in the NASCAR Mexico Series en route to his first NASCAR championship. He brings his talents to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for his rookie season with Rev Racing.
    Jairo Avila: The 20-year-old Colombian-American from Alhambra, California, made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut in 2014 and achieved four top-10 finishes in five starts with his family-run team. He will compete in the K&N Pro Series East.
    Ali Kern: The 22-year-old from Fremont, Ohio, had her best NASCAR D4D Combine last year after turning in strong performances in previous combine events. A second-place finisher in the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Kern will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
    Enrique Baca: Following an impressive showing at the Combine, Baca, 24, will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Baca is from Monterrey, Mexico, and competed in his native country's Super Copa Telcel series in 2015.
    Juan Garcia: Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Garcia, 18, earned the 2015 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award for his competitiveness in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He will return to the series with Rev Racing following a strong performance at the Combine last fall.
    Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, NASCAR D4D aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series. Since it began fielding D4D cars in 2010, Rev Racing has been the most consistent team in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, registering 17 total wins with six different drivers and at least one victory in each season. The 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener will take place on Feb. 14 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where Rev Racing scored a win with Suárez in 2014. In 2015, more than 25 graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program, also run by Rev Racing, pitted for national series teams. Mike Russell, jackman for the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, became the first African-American D4D graduate to win a national series championship.(NASCAR)(1-16-2016)

  • Rusty Wallace featured speaker at Kulwicki Driver Development Program banquet: NASCAR Champion and Hall-of-Famer Rusty Wallace will serve as the featured speaker at the inaugural Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) banquet on Dec. 14. The first-year organization's celebration event will be held in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We are thrilled to have Rusty as our featured speaker at the inaugural KDDP banquet," said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. "His close friendship with Alan back in the day and his connection with what our program is all about made him such a perfect fit for our occasion. We are so appreciative that he was able to work it into his busy schedule and join us there for our special occasion."
    "When I learned all the background about the KDDP and what the organization does for young racers out there, I said I'd be thrilled to be there," said Wallace, who won 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and claimed the 1989 premier series points championship during his illustrious racing career. "It will be a fun night at the Speedway Club meeting and chatting with the class of seven drivers who represented the KDDP this season. There's sure to be a lot of old friends in attendance there that night and a lot of old bench-racing stories that will be told. It'll be a real treat to spend time with those young drivers and hear how they did on and off the track out there this season. Alan was a great friend of mine and we grew up in an era where there was so much respect for one another. Guys like Alan, Mark Martin and Dick Trickle - we battled each other like crazy on the short tracks of the Midwest. It was really cool for all of us to be able to grow up through the ranks together like we did. I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of reflecting on that when I speak to them that night."
    Wallace's racing career began on the short tracks around his St. Louis home. He won the 1979 USAC Stock Car Series Rookie-of-the-Year. By the early 1980's he was winning races on short tracks all across the nation and surprisingly finished second in his first-ever NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta in 1980 in a car owned by Roger Penske. He adopted a goal-oriented strategy with his racing and successfully focused on winning the 1983 American Speed Association championship. His success on the short tracks opened the door for a full-time Cup ride with Cliff Stewart Racing during the 1984 season. He won the rookie title that year and finished 14th in the final points. Wallace moved on to Blue Max Racing for the 1986 season and won his first Cup race that April in Bristol. The close-knit team achieved the pinnacle of success by winning the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. Wallace teamed up again with Penske beginning in the 1991 season. Driving cars sponsored by the Miller Brewing Co., he recorded an impressive 37 wins before officially retiring at the conclusion of the 2005 season. Appropriately, he was inducted into the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
    Today, Wallace is still involved in the broadcasting end of NASCAR Racing, working with the Motor Racing Network crew. His position in the automotive industry has grown over the years. The Rusty Wallace Automotive Group now consists of six automotive dealerships located throughout Eastern Tennessee representing seven different makes (Buick, Cadillac, Ford, GMC, Honda, Kia and Toyota). An avid golfer, Wallace spends time on the courses near a home he owns in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
    "I was blessed to get to work with both Alan and Rusty," Roberts said. "They were cut out of the same mold. Rusty would never boast about it and shuns taking any credit for helping Alan along during his career. But I was there to witness it first-hand. Rusty was directly responsible for Paul Andrews becoming Alan's crew chief and he paved the way for Alan landing the Zerex sponsorship deal back in 1987. I plan on publicly thanking him for that for the first time there that night. It's so appropriate to have Rusty speak at our inaugural banquet. The 14th would have been Alan's 61st birthday and I know he certainly would appreciate Rusty being there. Alan would get a huge kick out of hearing him speak at his birthday party. I can guarantee that it will be a fun and entertaining evening having Rusty as a major part of the program for sure."
    The KDDP banquet is set for Dec. 14 (Alan Kulwicki's birthday) in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event will feature a live online broadcast by Speed51 TV. A limited number of seats are available to the general public by contacting the KDDP via e-mail at kulwickiddp@gmail.com or by calling (256) 508-2595. For additional information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, please visit the official website at kulwickiddp.com.(TRPR)(11-29-2015)

  • NASCAR, RISE to promote Diversity: NASCAR announced this week it has partnered with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), a recently formed alliance of major sports leagues, associations, media networks and educators created to promote diversity and equality through sports. NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France will help steer the new initiative, established by Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross, as a founding member of the RISE Board of Directors, serving alongside the commissioners of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, and other top sports executives.(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-21-2015)

  • Ty Majeski claims Kulwicki Cup Champion: Ty Majeski's incredible 2015 racing season will reach a peak on Dec. 14 when he is crowned the inaugural Kulwicki Cup Champion. Majeski and the other six members of the first-ever class of Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers will be honored on that night next month at the organization's banquet in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Highlighting the evening's activities will be the presentation of the champion's check for $54,439 and special one-of-a-kind champion's trophy to Majeski.
    Majeski earned 150 competition points, the maximum possible, during his spectacular 2015 on-track performance. In his best 15 finishes taken into consideration in the judging process, Majeski scored wins in every race. His off-track representation of the KDDP gained him an additional 60 bonus points. Majeski was lauded by the seven-member advisory board judges for taking the organization's mission to another level when he started his own driver development program for young go-kart drivers.
    The Seymour, Wisconsin driver, who is an engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claimed his second ARCA Midwest Series championship last month. Overall this season, Majeski won 18 of 56 races. He finished in the top-10 in 48 of those features and set fast time in 19 of them. Majeski's 2015 track record showed marked improvement from 2014 when he won five of 35 races, set fast time in nine races and placed in the top-10 23 times.
    Steve Apel, the three-time Slinger Speedway track champion and this year's Red, White and Blue Champion at Wisconsin International Raceway, finished as the runner-up in the 2015 Kulwicki Cup competition. The West Bend, Wisconsin driver scored eight victories and another seven top-five finishes in his 15 races considered by the judges. Apel's representation off the track garnered him the most bonus points of any driver (66). He received praise and points for his interaction with fans and his unique race car color schemes.
    Apel started his own racing team this year and changed car numbers. He placed a huge retro Alan Kulwicki Racing logo on the roof of his car and ran that scheme as a tribute to the late NASCAR champion. For his final races of the season, Apel ran a new paint scheme - a bright yellow #97 reminiscent of the paint job that Kulwicki ran with Transact Racing in 1982-83. The Monday after Oktoberfest at La Crosse Speedway - after being away from home for 4 days and a full day of work - he towed his #97 over to Thelma Kulwicki's house for her to see it. It's safe to say that Apel's car - painted up just like her stepson's - was the last race car she saw. Mrs. Kulwicki passed away the following evening.
    The two frontrunners were followed in the final standings by Reagan May, Cole Williams, Dave Farrington, Jr., Bryce Napier and Justin Crider.
    Final Overall Kulwicki Cup Point Standings:
    1st - Ty Majeski - 210
    2nd - Steve Apel - 188
    3rd - Reagan May - 147
    4th - Cole Williams - 119
    5th - Dave Farrington Jr. - 103
    6th - Bryce Napier - 69
    7th - Justin Crider - 50
    The points were tabulated by the KDDP's unique three-measurement system. The seven-member advisory board was asked to rank the overall job the drivers did on and off the track in representing the organization (from first to seventh). First-place votes are worth 70 points; second gets 60 points; third awards 50; fourth 40 points; fifth 30 points: sixth 20 points and seventh 10 points.
    Board members were given 10 "discretionary bonus points" that they could allocate for activities they felt were exceptional in representing the organization. In the final voting, drivers received considerable bonus points for their social media skills, fan interaction and various activities outside the race track. The final aspect of the system awarded the drivers "competition points" for their on-track success. Race wins award 10 points, with 2nd-5th-place finishes getting 6 points, 6th-10th 4 points, 11th-15th 2 points and 15th-plus 1 point.
    While Majeski and Apel accounted for 23 victories in 30 races, the other drivers contributed an additional 13 feature wins during the season. The group of seven drivers accumulated an impressive total of 92 top-five finishes during the 2015 judging period that went from April through October.
    Final 2015 Competition Points:
    1st - Ty Majeski - 150
    2nd - Steve Apel - 122
    3rd - Reagan May - 114
    4th - Cole Williams - 89
    5th - Dave Farrington Jr. - 82
    6th - Bryce Napier - 40
    7th - Justin Crider - 23
    "The inaugural season for our organization and the Kulwicki Cup competition has been successful beyond our wildest dreams," said KDDP executive director. "All seven competitors have done a championship-caliber job in representing the KDDP this year and have been just super to work with. I am convinced that Alan would be proud of each of them and I know that Thelma was impressed with them and loved our inaugural KDDP team of drivers. I am so glad that she was able to witness the program she started enjoy such a successful first season.
    "The KDDP was established with the mission of assisting seven young drivers to take it to the next level," added Roberts. "When you look back on the season, each of the drivers certainly benefitted from our support and they all progressed in some unique fashion during the year. It will be so much fun to have the group all gather for our banquet next month and celebrate a great inaugural season for our program."
    The KDDP banquet is set for Dec. 14 (Alan Kulwicki's birthday) in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event will feature a live online broadcast by Speed51 TV. More info at kulwickiddp.com.(KDDP)(11-21-2015)

  • 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program application available: The official application for the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is now available online and by request. As was the case with the incredibly successful 2015 inaugural year for the program, seven drivers will be selected to participate in the KDDP class of 2016. Chosen by the organization's seven-member advisory board, each driver will receive a $7,777 stipend at the beginning of the season. Then, those drivers will compete against one another for the annual Kulwicki Cup award. The overall winner receives a $54,439 grand prize (7 X $7,777) and a coveted, one-of-a-kind trophy. Drivers are required to compete in a MINIMUM of fifteen races over the course of the season. Program participants will be judged on race results, off-track civic participation, program promotion, fan interaction, and stewardship for Alan's story.
    Established in 2015 by the family of 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program is the premier short track driver development program for pro and super late model drivers in North America. The role of the KDDP is to help worthy drivers achieve their dreams, while at the same time keeping alive the legacy of Alan Kulwicki. The program will provide assistance to up-and-coming racers in several ways. A one-time stipend will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees, development of promotional and marketing materials, and assistance with necessary equipment. Staff and friends of the KDDP will assist participants in areas such as sponsorship development; publicity, marketing, and social media; business education; and industry networking and relationship building.
    "We are awaiting the final voting results to determine our inaugural 2015 Kulwicki Cup champ and are looking forward to our KDDP banquet in Charlotte next month, but the 2016 season is just around the corner," said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. "We're making the 2016 application available now in order to give everyone adequate time to get them submitted by our Dec. 31 deadline."
    The final 2015 Kulwicki Cup point standings will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 18 on Speed51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP. The champion and all members of the inaugural 2015 class will be recognized at the KDDP banquet set for Dec. 14 in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event will feature a live online broadcast by Speed51 TV. To download the 2016 KDDP application, please visit the organization's website (www.KulwickiDDP.com) and follow the links. Applications can also be requested by mail at KDDP, P.O. Box 1020, Guntersville, AL 35976. Copies of the application will also be available during the upcoming annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.(TRPR)(11-14-2015)

  • NASCAR and Chevrolet Announce Diversity Scholarship Winners at Texas: NASCAR and Chevy announced the scholarship winners in the NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest during a special presentation at Texas Motor Speedway. Four undergraduate college students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at the AAA Texas 500, including a tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, pace car rides and meet-and-greets with Team Chevy drivers and Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager, Alba Colon. Last month, NASCAR and Chevrolet challenged college students to identify a specific technology within the sport and explain how STEM professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Student videos were submitted online and judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production value. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Maria Kaselow Salas earned first place and a $10,000 scholarship by illustrating the physics behind track banking in her video demonstration at a local skateboard park. Utah State University sophomore Allan Blad took second place and won a $5,000 scholarship for his video about NASCAR's eco-friendly, track-drying technology, the Air Titan 2.0. Vishnu Rachakonda, a biomedical engineering student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Gwinn, who studies mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, finished in third and fourth place, respectively, earning $2,500 scholarships.(NASCAR)(11-8-2015)

  • Chip Ganassi Racing forms Generation Ganassi Driver Identification Program: Chip Ganassi and his Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced the creation of the Generation Ganassi (Gen G) racing talent identification program, a mentorship that will look to identify and assist North America's young and talented race car drivers. The program identifies 13-18 year old drivers as "Ones to Watch" in the world of auto racing and offers professional guidance to aid in fostering their growth within the sport of auto racing. The first recipient of the 2016 Generation Ganassi moniker is a 15-year-old driver from Canada named Devlin Defrancesco. Defrancesco has been racing karts since 2006 where he has had much success including winning the Canadian National Junior Championship in 2013, also named Vice-Champion of the CSAI Italian Championship and was third overall in the CIK FIA European Karting Championship. In 2015, he joined British racing team Carlin Motorsports to prepare for races in the FIA Formula 4 Championship.
    " Gen G - Generation Ganassi: Each year, CGRT will identify at least 10 young drivers from karting, sprint cars, modified, midgets, late model, etc. and each will be paired with one current CGRT driver, a CGRT racing competition person and also someone from CGRT business operations to help guide them through the turbulent waters of auto racing. In addition, each Gen G winner will get the Gen G logo to display on their car, helmet and firesuit. Gen G takes its name from the Generation X, Y and Z monikers given to new demographic groups. Gen G will now refer to the young race car driver that aspires to take racing from simply a passion to a profession.
    " A History of Spotting Talent: CGRT owner Chip Ganassi has a long history of identifying and developing young driver talent, from former drivers like Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya to current talent like Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson and Sage Karam. Ganassi drivers have won eight Rookie of the Year Awards with drivers Eddie Cheever (Verizon IndyCar Series), Zanardi (Verizon IndyCar Series), Montoya (Verizon IndyCar Series/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), McMurray (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) and Larson (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series East).
    " How To Be Considered: Gen G is open to any young drivers between the ages of 13-18 in any form of stock car or open wheel racing program anywhere in the country. Candidates must complete an online application process including basic background questions and a brief video essay answering why they should be selected to enter the program. Submission of a video that highlights their racing achievements, interaction with family and friends and personality is also encouraged. The application window for the first full class is open now and the deadline for submissions Jan. 31, 2016 with the winners being announced in March 2016.
    (Chip Ganassi Racing)(11-7-2015)

  • Christian Eckes Joins LFR Driver Development Group: The LFR Driver Development Group announced the addition of Christian Eckes to the team for select 2015 races and 2016 season. The 14-year-old Greenville, New York native earned his first career late model win in June and is looking forward to advancing his career with LFR. Eckes started racing Bandoleros at Bethel Motor Speedway at the age of 9. He raced Bandoleros for four years - which resulted in over 30 wins and two top-10 finishes in the nation (2012 & 2013). He then moved up to Legends Cars and earned 25 career wins and 2nd in the nation. Throughout his career, Eckes has competed against the top racers across the nation and has traveled to compete at tracks including: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bethel Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Bullring and Orlando Speedworld. This year, Eckes moved up to late model stock car racing and visited victory lane at Caraway Speedway in early June. In seven races in late models, Eckes has secured a victory, five Top-5's and six Top-10 finishes. The LFR Driver Development Group provides professional and experienced coaching with state-of-the-art race cars for developing drivers in all late model and modified divisions nationwide. Racing veterans Tony Eury Jr., Tony Eury Sr. and Jeff Fultz lead the Super Late Model division at LFR Chassis and are hands on with car set-up and driver coaching.(LFR Chassis)(7-28-2015)

  • NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Welcomes 2015 Class: Twenty of the best and brightest college students from across the country will descend on Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend as the sport introduces the 2015 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) class at NASCAR Sprint All-Star Weekend. The interns come to NASCAR from as far north as the University of Minnesota and as far south as the University of Puerto Rico, and will take part in the 10-week, paid program, created to expose multicultural college students to employment opportunities within America's number one motorsport. As the NDIP grows in popularity, so has the number of internship roles at NASCAR and other companies within the industry, in the areas of engineering, finance, marketing, licensing and public relations. Hendrick Motorsports, Rev Racing, Pocono Raceway and Switch, a marketing agency, are among the companies participating in 2015.
    "Since 2000, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program has grown to become one of the premier internships in sports," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "For NASCAR, the program is an important part of our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace."
    Nearly 300 interns have participated in the NDIP since its inception, and many secured full-time jobs in motorsports following their internships. Recent graduates have found roles at NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation, Octagon and Toyota, among other companies tied to the industry. "The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program has proven to be an effective pipeline for hiring top talent across the industry," said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president and chief human resources officer. "We have several former interns who now have key roles in helping to grow our sport."
    Pedro Mojica, a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio, completed his NDIP internship in 2014 and now works full-time as an engineer for Toyota Racing Development. "As an intern, I had the opportunity to become immersed in the world of NASCAR - a sport I was passionate about," said Mojica, who also participated in the NASCAR Mentorship Program. "The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program provided me with a platform to launch my career in motorsports."
    Several former interns are now employed at NASCAR within multiple business units, including: Brandon Thompson, director, racing operations; Marvin Aylor Jr., manager, marketing; Lauren Houston, senior account executive, multicultural development; Kathryn Lee, senior coordinator, events; Jusan Hamilton, account executive, industry services; Ade Herbert, coordinator, communications; Jason Simmons, licensing assistant; and Cameron McCarty, pit road technician.
    This weekend, the 2015 class will experience NASCAR 101 and receive guided tours of the NASCAR Research & Development Center, NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway before taking in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    The class includes the following students from colleges and universities across the country:
    Intern, Internship Assignment, College or University, Hometown
    Kent Booze, NASCAR Brand and Consumer Marketing, Dartmouth College, Spiro, Okla.
    Karl Bostick, Octagon Marketing, Elon University, Englewood, N.J.
    Adrienne Bright, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications, Central Michigan University, Flint, Mich.
    Nichole Dominguez, NASCAR Weekly and Touring, University of Central Florida, Daytona Beach, Fla.
    Sydnei Fryson, Rev Racing PR/Marketing, Hampton University, Charleston, W.V.
    James Harris, Hendricks Marketing/Business Development, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Apex, N.C.
    Zubin Jhambani, NASCAR Marketing Research, Syracuse University, Udaipur (Rajasthan), India
    Giridhar Kathiresan, NASCAR Digital Media, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Chennai (Tami Nadu), India
    Victoria Kim, Pocono Raceway Marketing, Penn State University, Horsham, Pa.
    Jordan Leatherman, Switch Marketing, Oklahoma State University, Muskogee, Okla.
    Yuyi Li, NASCAR Industry Services, Duke University, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Bice Lizza, NASCAR Human Resources, Penn State University, Montville, N.J.
    Jade McCrary, NASCAR Member Services, Florida A&M University, Daytona Beach, Fla.
    Cole McGinnis, NASCAR Licensing, University of Iowa, Davenport, Ia.
    Jasmine Neely, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Charlotte, N.C.
    Hakeem Onafowokan, NASCAR Legal, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
    Alexandre Pendegrass, NASCAR Multicultural Development, Howard University, Dallas, Texas
    Keyzza Plaza, NASCAR Production Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico
    Tonya Vanderpool, NASCAR Finance, University of Central Florida, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
    Ashleigh Young, NASCAR Productions, Oklahoma State University, Santa Ana, Calif.
    (NASCAR)(5-15-2015)

  • Wauters adds Vinnie Miller to development program: Wauters Motorsports announced today that Vinnie Miller will join Wauters Motorsports driver development program. Miller, a Brandon High School senior, will drive for Wauters in select Southern Super Late Model Series in 2015. Miller, a Metamora, MI native began racing at age five competing in the quarter midgets at tracks in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. He then moved to the pure stocks and sportsman series before moving to the pro late model series at age 16. The young driver in 2013 received the "On the Edge of Your Seat" award voted by the Owosso Speedway staff and by the fans, an award that had never been given before. In 2014 Miller was the pro late model rookie of the year and second in points out of 32 drivers at Owosso Speedway. Wauters Motorsports will focus on bringing Miller up through the Super Late Model racing series, ARCA Racing Series and then into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Miller is expected to make his first start in June running in the Southern Super Late Model Series. Miller will be back at his home track this weekend for the Vance Weedon Memorial Pro Late Model race at Owosso Speedway in Ovid, MI Saturday June 16, 2015. The first annual event is being held to honor his grandfather and mentor in racing, Vance Weedon, who passed away in January.(Wauters Motorsports)(5-15-2015)

  • 2015 NASCAR Next class announced: Five of the six NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winners in 2015 are 21 years old or younger. The championship points leaders in both the East and West are 17 and 16, respectively. And a 17-year-old just became the highest-finishing female in the 61-year history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
    It is fitting that as fans celebrate Jeff Gordon's final year of competition, the ranks of NASCAR are filled with young drivers battling to one day fill that void. And on Tuesday, in a building that honors the sport's history, NASCAR introduced some of those potential future stars of the sport.
    During a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, 12 drivers were formally announced as the newest NASCAR Next class, a group of up-and-coming talent that joins the industry program aimed at spotlighting NASCAR's emerging stars.
    "The NASCAR Next initiative spotlights the future of NASCAR, a collection of promising young talent who have shown the potential to one day reach the highest level of our sport," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president for Industry Services. "Alumni - and current members - of the NASCAR Next program are achieving success at the national series level, and we are confident that this class will build upon that foundation of excellence for many seasons to come."
    Now in its fifth season, the career résumé of NASCAR Next alumni is impressive, highlighted by Chase Elliott's 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, Kyle Larson's 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, and Cole Custer's September 2014 win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, making him the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history.
    Of the 28 drivers previously selected for the program, 21 have raced in one of NASCAR's three national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), and 11 are competing full-time there in 2015.
    The team was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives and veteran racers. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal.
    Each driver in NASCAR Next must be actively competing in a NASCAR touring or weekly series - NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors also are eligible provided they are not slated to run a full season in their respective series.
    The NASCAR Next members for 2015-16 are:
    Rico Abreu (23, Rutherford, Calif., Twitter: @Rico_Abreu)
    A 2014 USAC national champion and winner of the 2015 Chili Bowl, he has two top-10 finishes in three K&N Pro Series East starts, his first season racing in stock cars.
    Nicole Behar (17, Otis Orchards, Wash., @NicoleBehar33)
    Tied the series record for highest finish by a female driver in just her fifth K&N West start with her second place mark at Irwindale Event Center, and has top-10 finishes in four of six West starts.
    Kyle Benjamin (17, Easley, S.C., @kylebenjamin71)
    This Roush Fenway Racing developmental driver earned his first K&N Pro Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway, and is the youngest race winner in ARCA history.
    James Bickford (17, Napa, Calif., @Bickford_James)
    The 2014 K&N West Sunoco Rookie of the Year earned his first win at State Line Speedway last season and finished fifth in the season championship.
    William Byron (17, Charlotte, N.C., @WilliamByron)
    With a win at Greenville Pickens Speedway and three top 10 finishes, he sits atop the K&N Pro East season championship standings.
    Cole Custer (17, Ladera Ranch, Calif., @colecuster00)
    He holds the records for youngest pole award and race winner in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR's touring series, and led late in the Truck race at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season.
    Ruben Garcia Jr. (19, Mexico City, Mex., @rubengarcia4)
    The runner up in last season's NASCAR Mexico Series season championship, he had one win and 10 top-10 finishes there while also competing in three NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    Austin Hill (21, Winston, Ga., @_AustinHill)
    Had three consecutive K&N East wins, in the final two races in 2014 and the 2015 season opener at New Smyrna Speedway where he captured his first pole award and led every lap.
    Jesse Little (18, Sherrill's Ford, N.C., @jesselittle97)
    Had a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2014 to finish fourth in the season standings. Won the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in his 2015 K&N East debut.
    Dylan Lupton (21, Wilton, Calif., @LuptonDylan)
    Was the 2014 K&N West championship runner up with a win at Kern County Speedway and registered 14 top-10 finishes; made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
    John Hunter Nemechek (17, Mooresville, N.C., @JHNemechek)
    Earned six top-10 finishes in 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2014, and won the prestigious Snowball Derby Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in December.
    Dalton Sargeant (17, Boca Raton, Fla., @DaltonSargeant)
    Has a win at Kern County Raceway Park in the West this season, and four top-five finishes in five combined East and West races.(NASCAR)(5-5-2015)

  • Seven driver Kulwicki Driver Development Program class of 2015 announced: The seven drivers who will represent the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for 2015 were announced on Speed51.com, the official media partner of the organization. Those seven competitors will compete for the inaugural "Kulwicki Cup" during this year's racing season. The 2015 KDDP inaugural class of drivers includes (in alphabetical order):
    * * *
    STEVE APEL, 26, West Bend, Wisconsin
    Following in the line of great Slinger Speedway racers like Alan Kulwicki, Conrad Morgan, Lowell Bennett, and Al Schill, Steve Apel has mastered the "World's Fastest Quarter-Mile," winning track championships in 2013 and 2014. A CNC milling machine salesman, Steve is widely respected for his sportsmanship, work ethic and his willingness to promote the track and his fellow competitors whenever possible. In 2015, Steve will again chase the track championship at Slinger and hopes to venture out to other tracks in the area.
    * * *
    JUSTIN CRIDER, 18, Statesville, North Carolina
    A freshman engineering student at North Carolina State University, Justin plans on competing in the CARS Late Model Stock Series and selected NASCAR Whelen All American Series races in 2015. Chasing the points championship at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2013 and 2014, Justin earned numerous top-five finishes while racing against some of the best funded teams in the Southeast. Throughout his career, from go-karts to late models, Justin has driven a black and orange #7 to honor his hero, Alan Kulwicki.
    * * *
    DAVE FARRINGTON, JR., 23, Jay, Maine
    The 2014 NASCAR Whelen All American Maine State Champion, Dave Farrington, Jr. won the track Pro Series championship at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway without winning a race, but with no DNFs. He won three races at Beech Ridge during the 2013 season. At age 15, he had become one of the winningest go-kart racers in New England with 276 feature victories. Dave works as an engineer for General Dynamics at the Bath Iron Works. He earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Maine in 2013, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Business Administration.
    * * *
    TY MAJESKI, 20, Seymour, Wisconsin
    Since jumping into the seat of a super late model in 2012, Ty Majeski has won five races and finished in the top-five 23 times in only 37 races. In 2014, Ty became the youngest champion in the history of the ARCA Midwest Tour, clinching the title at LaCrosse (WI) Speedway's Oktoberfest in a borrowed car after destroying his primary car in a preliminary race. Ty is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Ranked #1 among 80,000 drivers on iRacing, an online racing simulator, Ty will again race for the ARCA Midwest Tour title in 2015.
    * * *
    REAGAN MAY, 21, DePere, Wisconsin
    Committed. Relentless. Conscientious. These are three words frequently used to describe Reagan May, the 2014 TUNDRA Series Rookie of the Year. Reagan won three super late model features last season, and finished fifth in the TUNDRA Series points. Reagan has interned at Coleman Racing Products in Menominee, Mich., developing and testing prototype parts and learning how to operate CNC machines. A Mechanical Engineering major at Michigan Tech University, Reagan plans to expand her racing schedule in 2015, competing full time with the TUNDRA series and visiting several new tracks as her budget allows.
    * * *
    BRYCE NAPIER, 15, Scotts Valley, California
    Wise beyond his years and hungry to learn everything about his race car, 15-year-old Bryce Napier has earned the respect of competitors and fans for his work ethic and dedication to success. Working alone after finishing his homework, Bryce will clean the car from top to bottom, scale the car himself and consult over the phone with his crew chief about gear and sway bar changes. The car is always ready to go when he hits the track. The 2014 Stockton 99 Speedway Rookie of the Year, Bryce works closely with military families through his sponsor, the Support Military Foundation. He looks to build on an already impressive foundation during the 2015 season.
    * * *
    COLE WILLIAMS, 18, Sellersburg, Indiana
    When there is no local short track available nearby, a racer will go to great lengths to compete. In 2014, Cole Williams traveled three hours each way to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and won the track championship. It's a cherished honor shared by NASCAR legends Darrell Waltrip and Sterling Marlin. A year earlier, Cole won the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Missouri State Championship and track championship at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Mo., some six hours from home. A Journalism major at Indiana University- Southeast, Cole will race his family's car at Nashville again in 2015, while also running several Late Model Stock races in Virginia and North Carolina.
    * * *
    "This is the day we have been anticipating since Thelma Kulwicki announced the formation of the program last May," said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. "We now know the seven promising young drivers who will be carrying our colors and vying for the inaugural Kulwicki Cup this season. "The great diversity we have within this group certainly adds to the intrigue of our program," said Roberts. "There is coast to coast representation. They hail from Maine to California and range in age from 15 to 26. In the group are three drivers from Alan Kulwicki's home state of Wisconsin, including the defending track champion at his beloved Slinger Super Speedway. "I am so excited as we move forward with the program this year," added Roberts. "Having Bob Dillner and his incredible staff at Speed51.com involved has already been so invaluable. They are the absolute best when it comes to promotion and their site has become the preeminent media outlet for short-track racing. Bob has mentioned some great ideas that will spark additional interest and fun for the Kulwicki Cup competition and we can't wait to see them implemented."
    The KDDP was established last spring by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream, while at the same time keeping Alan's memory and legacy alive. Drivers from all across the U.S. and Canada submitted applications. The seven-member KDDP advisory board reviewed all the applications and narrowed the field down to 15 finalists. Those drivers were interviewed individually and the board then had the difficult task of choosing the roster of seven drivers for the 2015 season. "We had so many great candidates who applied to be part of our inaugural class and we are sincerely thankful to them all," Roberts said. "I don't have a vote, but just as I have indicated over the last couple of weeks, I feel confident that any seven of our finalists would have made terrific representatives for our organization."
    The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the "grand prize." The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special trophy.
    A hybrid points system that takes into account on-track results, off-track engagement with fans and social media, and community involvement will be unveiled shortly. Much like the old system used to determine the NASCAR Rookie of the Year, KDDP drivers will earn points for their best 15 finishes, plus additional bonus points for victories.
    "Connecting with the fans at the track, working with news reporters and broadcasters and being active on social media is something all our drivers are passionate about," said Roberts. "Beyond that, we know the seven drivers will share far and wide the mission of the program and Alan's legacy. Giving back to the community is an important part of the KDDP, too, and we look forward to seeing how our drivers do this throughout the season. Our board will be particularly interested in this aspect of the program." The official competition will go from April 15 until October 15 during the 2015 racing season. The inaugural Kulwicki Cup winner will be announced in November and will be honored at an event in December.(KDDP)(3-12-2015)

  • Cunningham Teams With Roush Fenway: Cunningham Motorsports' co-owner Kerry Scherer announced that his organization has reached an agreement with Roush Fenway Racing to become a driver development team for them in the ARCA Racing Series. Their primary driver will be 17-year old Kyle Weatherman, who will join the Cunningham team for the next ARCA race at Mobile Int'l Speedway in Irvington, Ala., on Saturday, March 14. Weatherman has made 13 ARCA Series starts, earning five top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes, while leading 91 laps in three races. He had back-to-back runner up finishes in 2013 at Iowa Speedway and Salem Speedway, when he was just 16 years old. In addition, he garnered a pair of fourth place finishes at Winchester Speedway and Salem Speedway, both in Indiana. During Weatherman's eight ARCA starts last season he grabbed another fourth at Berlin Raceway. His career-best qualifying effort came in 2013 when he won the outside pole at Iowa Speedway.
    In seven years of racing Weatherman has built an impressive racing resume, which includes over 190 victories and four national championships in the USLCI Legend Car Series. The high school junior commented, "I'm ready to get the 2015 season started with a great group of guys. I've already been over at the shop, working with the guys and they are all hard workers. I believe we can put together some top-five finishes and a few wins this season, if we work hard and keep working together as a team. I am really excited to be with Cunningham Motorsports."
    Weatherman's schedule of races has not been completed at this time, but Cunningham and Roush Fenway expect he will be racing as often as his age and his development schedule will allow. In making the announcement Scherer commented, "We are excited to partner with such a tradition-rich organization as Roush Fenway Racing. We look forward to working with Kyle, a truly gifted driver, to help him reach his goals with Roush Fenway."(NSSN)(2-26-2015)

  • Kulwicki Driver Development Finalists: The finalists for the 2015 Kulwicki Driver Development Program roster certainly comprise a diverse and talented group. However, there is one huge common denominator between them all: the aspiration to be among the seven-driver inaugural KDDP class. "It's an impressive group for sure," said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. "We have drivers hailing from Florida to Maine, Maine to California and many areas in between. We have both male and female drivers with many short tracks and racing series represented. Their ages range from 15 to 26 and their backgrounds and levels of experience vary greatly. I have personally interviewed each of the drivers and I am inspired by all of their stories. All the drivers in the group would make tremendous representatives for our organization. Our advisory board members definitely have a monumental task in narrowing it down to the seven drivers who will carry our colors this season."
    The KDDP was established last year by family members of 1992 NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki as a means to offer assistance to worthy drivers while keeping the late champion's legacy and memory alive. The organization's seven-member advisory board has already reviewed an enormous amount of impressive applications generated with the assistance of official media partner Speed51.com. They have narrowed it down to the drivers listed below and will now tackle the job of naming their seven KDDP drivers.
    Those seven drivers will be competing for the inaugural "Kulwicki Cup" during the 2015 season. They will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season. The Kulwicki Cup winner will be announced in November. That driver will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special trophy during an event honoring the winner in December.
    The finalists for the KDDP inaugural class of 2015 are (in alphabetical order):
    STEVE APEL, 26, West Bend, Wisconsin
    "Racing is not just a sport in my eyes; it is a way of life."
    Following in the line of great Slinger Speedway racers like Alan Kulwicki, Conrad Morgan, Lowell Bennett, and Al Schill, Steve Apel has mastered the "World's Fastest Quarter-Mile," winning track championships in 2013 and 2014. A CNC milling machine salesman, Steve is widely respected for his sportsmanship, work ethic and his willingness to promote the track and his fellow competitors whenever possible. In 2015, Steve will again chase the track championship at Slinger and hopes to venture out to other tracks in the area.
    * * *
    BRAD BABB, 22, Windham, Maine
    "I always want to be at the race track. The race track is where I feel at home."
    Born into a racing family, Brad Babb has made a name for himself throughout the Northeast, winning the Pro Late Model Series track championship at Beech Ridge (ME) Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Whelen All American Maine State Championship in 2012, the New England Late Model Series championship in 2014 and numerous features in Maine and Vermont. A skilled welder and fabricator, Brad will again chase the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) title in 2015.
    * * *
    TYLER CHURCH, 26, Hickory, North Carolina
    "I want to be the Cinderella story; the local boy who worked hard to make it to the top."
    As the driver for an underfunded, family-run team, Tyler Church won the 2014 PASS South Super Late Model Series, overcoming three broken axles in the championship race to take home the title. He is highly respected by his fellow competitors for his determination, clean racing and ability to run competitively on a tight budget. Tyler achieved a lifelong dream late last year when he was hired by Hendrick Motorsports as a fabricator. In 2015, Tyler will compete in the new CARS Super Late Model Series.
    * * *
    JUSTIN CRIDER, 18, Statesville, North Carolina
    "Ever since I was four years old, I knew that all I wanted to do was race."
    A freshman engineering student at North Carolina State University, Justin plans on competing in the CARS Late Model Stock Series and selected NASCAR Whelen All American Series races in 2015. Chasing the points championship at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2013 and 2014, Justin earned numerous top-five finishes while racing against some of the best funded teams in the Southeast. Throughout his career, from go-karts to late models, Justin has driven a black and orange #7 to honor his hero, Alan Kulwicki.
    * * *
    JOHN DEANGELIS, 20, Hubertus, Wisconsin
    "I am a confident, patient and passionate racer that knows what it's like to start at the bottom."
    There is no driver better prepared for battle at the Slinger Speedway than John DeAngelis. John earned the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Slinger, his first year in super late models. Known for hardnosed demeanor on track, but a quick smile and generous autograph pen after the races, DeAngelis will chase the ARCA Midwest Tour and the Slinger track championship in 2015.
    * * *
    DAVE FARRINGTON, JR., 23, Jay, Maine
    "Our family owned and operated race team represents the true meaning of local short track racing."
    The 2014 NASCAR Whelen All American Maine State Champion, Dave Farrington, Jr. won the track Pro Series championship at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway without winning a race, but with no DNFs. He won three races at Beech Ridge during the 2013 season. At age 15, he had become one of the winningest go-kart racers in New England with 276 feature victories. Dave works as an engineer for General Dynamics at the Bath Iron Works. He earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Maine in 2013, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Business Administration.
    * * *
    BLAISE HETZNECKER, 20, Holly Hill, Florida
    "We keep our heads up, keep pushing to the next race, and with a never-say-die attitude, we keep racing doing it our way."
    An Engineering Technology student at Daytona State College, Blaise Hetznecker is an accomplished dirt and pavement racer. Blaise has won features at New Smyrna Speedway and Volusia Raceway Park, and has earned numerous honors in the karting world. Respected for his work ethic, resourcefulness and hunger for racing knowledge, Blaise has persevered, utilizing limited resources to make it to the track each week. In 2015, Blaise will run for the Pro Late Model Division championship at New Smyrna Speedway.
    * * *
    SKYLAR HOLZHAUSEN, 25, Sparta, Wisconsin
    "A word that describes me is 'perfectionist.' We're so much like Alan in that we've always done the most with the least."
    Like many young racers, Skylar comes from a racing family. His grandfather, Bud, raced in the 1950s and his dad, Steve, won several races in both the ARTGO Challenge Series and the original American Speed Association. A welder-fabricator by trade, Skylar earned his associate's degree from Western Wisconsin Technical College. Skylar has won two of the Midwest's biggest short track races; the Dick Trickle '99' at LaCrosse (WI) Speedway's Oktoberfest and the Summer Clash 250 at Elko (MN) Speedway in 2011. In 2015, Skylar hopes to again chase the ARCA Midwest Tour championship.
    * * *
    TY MAJESKI, 20, Seymour, Wisconsin
    "Once you feel are the best and have nothing left to learn, you begin to fall behind; I will always improve, always grow, and turn my goals into reality."
    Since jumping into the seat of a super late model in 2012, Ty Majeski has won five races and finished in the top-five 23 times in only 37 races. In 2014, Ty became the youngest champion in the history of the ARCA Midwest Tour, clinching the title at LaCrosse (WI) Speedway's Oktoberfest in a borrowed car after destroying his primary car in a preliminary race. Ty is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Ranked #1 among 80,000 drivers on iRacing, an online racing simulator, Ty will again race for the ARCA Midwest Tour title in 2015.
    * * *
    REAGAN MAY, 21, DePere, Wisconsin
    "It is easy to talk about teamwork at the track, but those that teach, live and learn at the shop are the ones that make us who we are."
    Committed. Relentless. Conscientious. These are three words frequently used to describe Reagan May, the 2014 TUNDRA Series Rookie of the Year. Reagan won three super late model features last season, and finished fifth in TUNDRA Series points. Reagan has interned at Coleman Racing Products in Menominee, Mich., developing and testing prototype parts and learning how to operate CNC machines. A Mechanical Engineering major at Michigan Tech University, Reagan plans to expand her racing schedule in 2015, competing full time with the TUNDRA series and visiting several new tracks as her budget allows.
    * * *
    BRYCE NAPIER, 15, Scotts Valley, California
    "If a gear needs changing, I crawl underneath, sometimes burning my arm on the hot metal, but allowing nothing to stop me. When I'm finished, I zip my suit back up, climb in, and drive the car."
    Wise beyond his years and hungry to learn everything about his race car, 15-year-old Bryce Napier has earned the respect of competitors and fans for his work ethic and dedication to success. Working alone after finishing his homework, Bryce will clean the car from top to bottom, scale the car himself and consult over the phone with his crew chief about gear and sway bar changes. The car is always ready to go when he hits the track. The 2014 Stockton 99 Speedway Rookie of the Year, Bryce works closely with military families through his sponsor, the Support Military Foundation. He looks to build on an already impressive foundation during the 2015 season.
    * * *
    ALEX PRUNTY, 22, Lomira, Wisconsin
    "I see every race as an opportunity to do something incredible and continue the legacy of my family's name."
    For third generation racer Alex Prunty, Sunday night at Slinger Speedway is more than just another race; it is a family reunion. Giving each other no quarter on the track, the Pruntys are always there for each other, offering a helping hand at the track and the race shop. Growing up working on the championship-winning cars of his three racing uncles, Alex will race a super late model full time in 2015, moving up after winning a 2012 track championship in the late model division. When not at the track, Alex is a Research and Development Engineer at Briggs & Stratton Corporation.
    * * *
    DJ WELTMEYER, 22, Dyer, Indiana
    "Racing and competing are part of me; they are in my blood and always have been."
    The son of multi-time ARCA race winner Dave Weltmeyer, DJ Weltmeyer - "The Dyer Flyer" - is carrying on a family tradition of competing at Grundy County Speedway and Illiana Motor Speedway. An engineering student at Purdue University- Calumet, DJ is an eager learner outside of the classroom, building shocks for local racers and testing experimental suspension components on his own race car. Known for his clean racing and perseverance, DJ hopes to race at Grundy County and Illiana again in 2015. He looks to also race with the ARCA Midwest Tour and the ARCA CRA Super Series as his schedule and budget allow.
    * * *
    COLE WILLIAMS, 18, Sellersburg, Indiana
    "Working hard is the key to success; there is no other way to make it in this sport."
    When there is no local short track, a racer will go to great lengths to compete. In 2014, Cole Williams traveled seven hours each way to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and won the track championship It's a cherished honor shared by NASCAR legends Darrell Waltrip and Sterling Marlin. A year earlier, Cole won the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Missouri State Championship and track championship at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Mo., some six hours from home. A Journalism major at Indiana University- Southeast, Cole will race his family's car at Nashville again in 2015, while also running several Late Model Stock races in Virginia and North Carolina.
    The selection process to determine the KDDP drivers for 2015 is expected to be completed in the next 10 days. The seven-driver lineup is scheduled to be announced during the first week of March.(KDDP)(2-20-2015)

  • RCR Names Kate Dallenbach to Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Kate Dallenbach as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. The other driver joining the program is 14 year-old Ahnna Parkhurst. Dallenbach, 17, is the daughter of Wally, Jr., NASCAR driver-turned-broadcaster, and Robin Dallenbach, a former driver herself with two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Her grandfather, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., was a successful Indy car driver and Chief Steward. The student of Davidson Day High School will compete in dirt and asphalt races under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing.
    "Some RCR and TDR members and I have been watching Kate for several years and have been impressed with her driving ability," said Richard Childress, CEO and Chairman of RCR. "She is a quality driver in races and the results from her testing dirt Late Models have been very positive. I look forward to what the future holds for Kate and we will do all we can to help her succeed." Dallenbach started racing Quarter Midgets at age eight and was the 2007 Texas Regional Champion in two different divisions. Dallenbach also competed in Bandoleros at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 and was part of the Lyn St. James Driver Academy in 2010.
    In 2011, she earned championship and rookie of the year honors in the Allison Legacy Series at Thunderhill (Tex.) Raceway. Dallenbach tested dirt Late Models for RCR/TDR in 2013 and drove Whelen Late Models at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway capturing Rookie of the Year honors and finishing second in points. Last year, she raced 10 events for RCR/TDR at Boyd (Ga.) Speedway and ran 15 asphalt Late Model races for Lee Faulk Racing at various tracks in the Southeast. For the 2015 season, Dallenbach will increase her schedule to more than 20 events with Faulk and 10 races on dirt for RCR/TDR at Boyd Speedway. "I am honored and looking forward to being a larger part of RCR's Driver Development Program this year," Dallenbach said. "As a driver, I'm looking forward to improving my racing skills and winning some dirt and asphalt races. I hope to start testing Trucks in the future, as well. I can't thank Richard (Childress), Mike (Dillon) and Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops enough for this opportunity." Dallenbach currently has sponsorship from SHE Outdoor Ladies Hunting Clothing from Bass Pro Shops.(RCR)(1-29-2015)

  • RCR Names Ahnna Parkhurst to Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Ahnna Parkhurst as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. The other driver joining the program is 17-year-old Kate Dallenbach. Parkhurst, 14, is an Augusta, Ga. native and is entering her second season of competitive racing. The student at Riverside Middle School will compete in dirt Crate Late Models under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing this year. "Ahnna has an incredible natural talent and absorbs everything she can to become a better driver every time she races," said Richard Childress, CEO and Chairman of RCR. "Everything I have seen and heard about her racing has been positive. She is going to learn and improve even more this year on the dirt tracks and I look forward to watching that progress." Parkhurst competed in 42 Mini Outlaws race last season, winning 13 and finishing second in 12 of them at Millbridge (N.C.) Speedway. This year, her schedule calls for 40 races in RCR/TDR Crate Dirt Late Models at Boyd (Ga.) Speedway, Swainsboro (Ga.) Speedway and Modoc (S.C.) Speedway. "I raced just about every other Wednesday night from March until November of last year," Parkhurst said. "RCR and TDR said they are going to give me their best effort to be competitive and try and win races. It's up to me to give them my best efforts in return. "This is a great opportunity and I can't thank Richard, TDR and my sponsors enough for making me part of the team. Austin and Ty Dillon have already been very supportive and I have learned a lot from them this past year." Parkhurst will have sponsorship from LauriesFund.org, Tgen, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Bad Boy Buggies.(RCR)(1-29-2015)

  • New Names Fill 2015 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Roster: NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport's national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program's competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez.
    "Taking steps to find and develop young female and multicultural athletes who could represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization's mission," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We were impressed by the talent displayed at the Combine [in October of 2014], and are eager to help this group develop their strengths on and off the track."
    Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East.
    The 2015 NASCAR D4D roster includes:
    Devon Amos: Returning to the team, the 23-year-old Rio Rancho, New Mexico, native will make the jump to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East after two full seasons in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
    Jay Beasley: Finishing 13th overall and sixth in a loaded Sunoco Rookie of the Year field in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East last season, the 23-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada will return for a second season, aiming to best his rookie campaign.
    Collin Cabre: After an impressive NASCAR D4D Combine performance, the 21-year-old Thonotosassa, Florida, native will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in his first year with Rev Racing. Cabre has spent the past five years racing asphalt and dirt sprint cars.
    Natalie Decker: A 17-year-old newcomer to the Rev Racing roster from Eagle River, Wisconsin, Decker collected feature wins in a limited late model and super late model, as well as earning Rookie and Sportsman of the Year honors in ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour. She will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2015.
    Kenzie Ruston: Entering her third season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and first with Rev Racing, the 22-year-old El Reno, Oklahoma, native is also a member of NASCAR Next, an industry initiative to identify tomorrow's stars. Ruston broke her own record in 2014 as the highest finishing female driver in the K&N Pro Series East with a runner-up finish at Iowa Speedway on her way to finishing ninth in points.
    Dylan Smith: The 22-year-old from Randolph, Vermont earned a spot with Rev Racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series after competing in his own Late Model last year. The Stewart-Haas Racing employee ran 15 races and finished 38th in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings.
    Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series. "NASCAR Drive for Diversity goes much deeper than putting drivers behind the wheel of race cars," said Siegel. "The program is all encompassing, providing competition, athletic training and professional development opportunities for drivers who have the determination and talent to reach NASCAR's top levels. We've seen this with Larson, Suarez and Wallace Jr. and are excited about the potential of this talented group of drivers." Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, more than 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.(NASCAR/Rev Racing)(1-27-2015)

  • LFR Driver Development Group formed: LFR Chassis has announced the formation of the LFR Driver Development Group, a company that will provide professional and experienced coaching with state of the art race cars for developing drivers in all late model and modified divisions nationwide. The company's goal is to provide top-level racing experience and equipment to drivers looking to progress through the motorsports ranks. LFR Chassis has quickly made a mark in the short track racing industry by providing top notch equipment along with a racing staff that is unparalleled in the industry.
    Four racing veterans will lead the group: Rob Fuller, Tony Eury Jr., Jeff Fultz and Ryan Stone. From Daytona International Speedway to Hickory Motor Speedway, these racing veterans have collectively won more than three dozen championships and over 700 victories at the highest level of motorsports, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to new drivers.
    Rob Fuller, owner of LFR Chassis, was born into a racing family, but made a name for himself in NASCAR by winning at the top levels as a driver, engineer, and pit crew member for teams including Penske Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Fuller's 25 years of racing experience and innovative approach to building racecar chassis led to the creation of LFR Chassis.
    Tony Eury Jr. is the competition director at LFR Chassis and brings over 20 years of experience working at the top levels of NASCAR as a crew chief, car chief, mechanic and tire changer. He has lead the top teams in motorsports - including Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports - to numerous wins and championships.
    Jeff Fultz has 30 years of experience in racing as a driver, car chief and builder. He has 10 championships to his name and over 250 wins throughout his career. Fultz is a three-time champion and all time wins leader in the NASCAR All Pro Series.
    Ryan Stone is a championship winning crew chief in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He has been racing for 18 years and has a decade of experience specifically in modified racing as a driver, car chief and crew chief.
    "With the experience level of our coaches and quality of equipment, we are taking a huge variable out of the developmental stages of a driver's progression," said Rob Fuller. "We have all wished at some point of our career to have the best equipment and most knowledgeable crew so we can test our driving ability, and all that is under one roof. We have worked closely with the NASCAR community throughout our 20 plus year careers, and know what it takes to succeed in this ultra-competitive sport."
    The LFR Driver Development Group will utilize equipment and racecars from LFR Chassis. These chassis were designed and constructed by some of the best racing minds in the industry. The group will offer several different packages for all experience levels. "What will be great about our program is that we will have entry level to pro level classes available," said Jeff Fultz. "Some drivers might only drive a few races while others will continue through a few seasons. All this depends on the talent level shown throughout the year. We expect this to be a high-profile driver development program within the industry in a short amount of time. We've made heads turn with our progress at LFR Chassis and expect to do the same with this program."
    The LFR Driver Development Group will also offer marketing and communications support for this next generation of drivers. Nealie Stufflet, a veteran NASCAR public relations professional, partnered with LFR Chassis in its inception to offer PR, social media and sponsorship services to its customers and will do the same for the development drivers. Interview skills training, media coaching and landscape insight will also be offered. "We created this group to help those looking for the right place to find a combination of unparalleled experience in NASCAR and top level equipment for drivers looking to take their careers to the next level," said Fuller. "We have two drivers signed up as of today and will announce the full team when all seats are occupied." To get in contact with the LFR Driver Development Group, please contact Rob Fuller at rob@lfrchassis.com.(LFR Chassis)(1-3-2015)


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