Coughlin joins JGR developement program: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has signed Cody Coughlin to its driver development program. The Coughlin family is well known for their achievements in drag racing, with Team JEGS having collected a number of NHRA titles and championships. Cody Coughlin is the first in the family to make his mark in circle track racing however, and is now set for the next step in what has already been an impressive career. Coughlin captured the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour Championship in 2013 and in 2011 he earned Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year honors. Coughlin will work closely with JGR on all aspects of racing including competition as well as marketing and public relations. In addition to returning to drive in the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour, Coughlin will drive a 12-race schedule for Venturini Motorsports under the supervision of JGR beginning March 22 at Mobile International Speedway. Coughlin dabbled in drag racing when he was younger, but fell in love with NASCAR as a young child and made the decision to focus on circle track racing. In addition to the support of his father, John, as well as his mother Di and sister Kennedi, Cody has the support of all the associates at JEGS.(JGR)(3-6-2014)
Gallaher joins Wauters driver development program: Wauters Motorsports announced today that Will Gallaher will join Wauters Motorsports driver development program. Gallaher, a California native, will drive for Wauters in the Southern Super Late Model Series in 2014. Gallaher at age 18 began racing in F-1600 Formula Cars competing at tracks along the West Coast. He then moved into the United Auto Racing Association Series, as well as, making three starts in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Wauters Motorsports will focus on bringing Gallaher up through the Super Late Model racing series and then into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Will Gallaher is slated to make his first start later this spring in the Southern Super Late Model Series.(Wauters Motorsports)(2-26-2014)
NASCAR Drive For Diversity Selects 2014 Class: NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading youth development program for multicultural and female drivers, will head into the 2014 season with one of the most well-rounded and accomplished rosters in program history. The 2014 class is led by Daniel Suarez, who contended for two NASCAR touring series championships last year, and Ryan Gifford, who is coming off a successful 2013 season, in which he earned his first NASCAR win and made his NASCAR national series debut. They will be joined by a group of talented newcomers looking to make their mark in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
"NASCAR is committed to providing training, competition experience and mentoring to drivers who without a doubt demonstrate the potential to compete at the highest levels of our sport through the academy-style program," said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. "We look forward to another successful racing season with the Drive for Diversity team."
In addition to Suarez and Gifford, Sergio Peña returns to the program in which he earned three wins and finished fifth in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points in 2011. They'll be joined in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series ranks by Jay Beasley. Beasley won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model track championship at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the series' Nevada championship. Devon Amos, who drove with Rev Racing's Legends program last year, and Paige Decker will compete for the team in Late Models in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
"Our goal is to keep building upon our successes with every new class we select," said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. "We are excited with the momentum built in 2013 with several D4D career milestones. This year's class has a tough job ahead of them and we look forward to providing them with all the tools necessary to reach individual and collective successes across the board." D4D saw one the strongest pool of applicants the program has ever seen this year. Nearly 100 drivers, representing 14 states and Mexico, applied for an opportunity to try out for a spot with Rev Racing at the annual D4D Combine - a three-day tryout where drivers' undergo physical assessments and are evaluated on on-track abilities by executives across the industry. In 2013, D4D saw the impressive rise of graduates Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Wallace became the first African-American to win a national series victory in nearly 50 years at Martinsville in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. And Larson, whose meteoric rise through the ranks solidified D4D as a driving powerhouse for developmental athletes at NASCAR, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as well as became the first D4D participant to secure a full-time ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson was also the first D4D driver to secure a national series victory.
Rev Racing drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series include:
- Daniel Suárez: The Monterrey, Mexico, native is a member of the NASCAR Next program and joins Rev Racing for the second season. The 22-year-old finished third in the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship standings and was the championship runner-up in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series in 2013. He recorded his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win last July at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.
- Ryan Gifford: Another member of the NASCAR Next program, the 24-year-old from Winchester, Tenn., garnered his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win last season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. In 2010 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, he became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East pole position. Additionally, he made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut last August at Iowa Speedway, finishing ninth driving for Richard Childress Racing.
- Jay Beasley: This 21-year-old from Las Vegas won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model track championship at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the series' Nevada championship on the strength of eight victories in 14 starts. He also earned the 2013 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award as a result of his early success on the track.
- Sergio Peña: With three career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wins to his credit, the 21-year-old from Winchester, Va., has a pair of top-10 finishes in points for 2011-12 while collecting 19 top 10s in 39 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career starts.
Drivers competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series include:
- Paige Decker: From Eagle River, Wis., the 20-year-old driver competed in her Super Late Model at tracks throughout the Midwest.
- Devon Amos: Competing mostly in a Legends car in 2013, the 22-year-old from Rio Rancho, N.M., scored a seventh-place finish in his stock car debut last summer at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East kicks off its 2014 season at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 16. Two days later, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, the UNOH Battle At The Beach will take place on the .37-mile short track situated on the Superstretch at Daytona International Speedway. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers will compete primarily at Hickory Motor Speedway, where the season is scheduled to get underway on March 8.(NASCAR)(2-1-2014)
JR Motorsports Adds William Byron to Late Model Program for 2014: JR Motorsports announced it has signed 16-year-old William Byron, a legends series national champion, to compete regionally for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s late model program, which enters its 13th season competing at tracks across the southeast. The addition of Byron cements the JR Motorsports late model driver line-up for 2014, which includes Josh Berry, a four-time winner for JRM in the #88 Speedco late model. Berry won the 2012 track champion at Motor Mile Speedway (Radford, Va.) to give the organization its first championship in any racing division.
Berry will drive the #88 and Byron the #9 in 2014. Byron has been racing competitively for only a year but scored 33 wins in his debut season and set numerous track records along the way.
"These kids are talented, young drivers with tremendous upside," said team manager L.W. Miller. "William has shown he has raw talent. It's very rare to see a guy win so quickly. Coming from legends cars, he'll be able to rely on Josh to make the transition to late models. We are excited to see what both these guys can do this year."
A native of Charlotte, Byron burst onto the legends racing scene late in the 2012 season. His 33 wins earned him national champion honors in the U.S. Legends Young Lions division. Byron also claimed the Young Lions division championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway's summer-long Thursday Thunder. Byron, a sophomore at Charlotte Country Day School, competed in 69 races across the United States in 2013, posting 59 top-five and 64 top-10 finishes. He collected Young Lion division victories in Charlotte Motor Speedway's Legends All-Star Race, LegendStock at Bethel (N.Y) Motor Speedway and the U.S. Legends Race of Champions at Lake Erie (Pa.) Speedway. "This is an unbelievable opportunity for me," Byron said. "Last year was really my first full season racing period, so to be able to join JR Motorsports and learn from Josh and L.W. will be an awesome experience. I really expect both Josh and I to be able to compete for wins everywhere we go this year."
Speedco Truck Lube and Tires returns for a third consecutive season as primary sponsor of Berry's #88 team. The 23-year-old's tenure with JR Motorsports is highlighted by his 2012 track championship at Motor Mile Speedway in addition to four victories, 27 top-five and 44 top-10 finishes. He also posted nine poles, including seven during his 2012 championship run. "It's an exciting time for our late model program," Berry said. "Speedco's commitment to JR Motorsports and my racing career means a lot to me. I look forward to working with William this year and helping him get up to speed like so many guys helped me when I first started." The JR Motorsports late model program enters its 13th season of regional competition. The team plans to compete at Hickory Motor Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway this season.(JR Motorsports)(1-17-2014)
Max Papis forms Whelen Euro team: Max Papis Racing to announced its presence in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, fielding the #99 racecar for the 2014 season. Team Principal and Italian native Max Papis, who has the most NASCAR starts for a European driver, and his wife/car owner, Tatiana Fittipaldi Papis, have a personal connection with the NASCAR family. "Being a NASCAR team owner is a very important step in my professional career," said Papis. "I am excited to create a working platform that will act as a bridge between racing in the United States and Europe, creating opportunities for drivers and technicians to experience the best of the two worlds combined." Kevin Gilardoni will drive the No. 99 racecar in the Elite division. The 21-year old Italian driver has competed in the Eurocup Megane Trophy and Formula Renault 2.0 series, showing great talent and potential with multiple wins, pole positions, and podium finishes in the past three seasons. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will begin its third season under the NASCAR banner with the season opener April 12-13 at Valencia in Spain. The six race-weekend schedule also includes stops at England's Brands Hatch, Germany's Nürburgring and the championship weekend at France's famed LeMans. In addition, the series competes on the first purpose-built oval for stock cars in Europe, Tours Speedway in France.(Max Papis Racing)(1-17-2014)
NASCAR Receives Diversity And Inclusion Award: On Nov. 8, NASCAR received the 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Award (DANDI) for its efforts in fostering diversity throughout the sport at a ceremony at the New York Times Building in New York City. Eight days later, on Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, NASCAR's diversity efforts reached another milestone when 21-year-old NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson became the first Asian-American driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in any NASCAR national series, receiving the honor in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.(NASCAR)(11-23-2013)
NASCAR Next Roster For 2013 Announced: Filled with prospects coming from Nevada to Georgia, from Canada to Mexico, and a number of hometowns in between, NASCAR unveiled today the 2013 driver roster for the NASCAR Next program at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. NASCAR Next, an evolution of the Next9 initiative that began in 2011, is an overarching industry initiative to help spotlight NASCAR's rising stars - and bolster fan recognition around talent that will grow into NASCAR Sprint Cup Series mainstays. In addition to competing on various NASCAR series across the country, drivers in the program will participate in several media and promotional activities throughout the next 12 months.
"This program has made great strides in a short time," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR vice president, industry services. "The evolution of NASCAR Next builds on that success with the influx of young, talented drivers continuing throughout all of NASCAR's racing series. This program provides a platform to help foster their growth within our sport, and introduce these young and talented drivers to NASCAR fans who will likely be hearing more about them in years to come."
This year's NASCAR Next group ranges from 15 to 24 years of age, represents three countries and 10 U.S. states from Nevada to Connecticut. They have amassed 32 NASCAR touring series wins and one series title. The multicultural group represents a diversity in geography (10 different U.S. states, in addition to Canada and Mexico), with racing backgrounds from asphalt to dirt and open wheel to stock car.
The team was assembled through a thorough process that included separate nominating and voting panels. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and possess the skill set to realize that goal.
Additionally, 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 Toyota Series, Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors also are eligible providing they are in the first full-time season in their respective series.
Former NASCAR Next members who have moved on to success in NASCAR's national series include Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr.
The NASCAR Next members for 2013-14 are:
· Jeb Burton (20 years old, Halifax, Va.) - Four top-10 finishes in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season with three pole wins as a rookie.
· Chase Elliott (17, Dawsonville, Ga.) - A two-time Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East where he had a win and 15 top 10s and has two top-five finishes in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season.
· Gray Gaulding (15, Colonial Heights, Va.) - The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East rookie set series records for youngest pole winner and race leader in April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
· Ryan Gifford (24, Winchester, Tenn.) - The NASCAR Drive For Diversity product became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East pole - Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in 2010.
· Cameron Hayley (16, Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - The NASCAR K&N Pro Series winner at inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway in February is a K&N Pro Series West championship contender.
· Ben Kennedy (21, Daytona Beach, Fla.) - Has two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wins in five starts this season and will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in August at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
· Dylan Kwasniewski (18, Las Vegas, Nev.) - The 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year and 2012 series champion is competing for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title this season.
· Brett Moffitt (20, Grimes, Iowa) - Has 31 top-five finishes in 52 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts and is among the series' all-time leaders in wins and poles.
· Ryan Preece (22, Berlin, Conn.) - A two-time championship runner-up in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with five career wins and 12 poles and is a top competitor in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series' Modified Divisions in Connecticut.
· Ben Rhodes (16, Louisville, Ky.) - Has driven his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model to podium finishes this year at the UNOH Battle At The Beach in Daytona and the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown in Richmond, while also making his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut.
· Kenzie Ruston (21, El Reno, Okla.) - As a rookie, has three top-five finishes in five career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts and recorded the highest finish by a female driver in series history with a third-place effort in April at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.
· Michael Self (22, Park City, Utah) - As a relative newcomer to stock-car racing, he is a bona fide NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title contender and has four wins in last 13 series starts.
· Daniel Suárez (21, Monterrey, Mexico) - A product of the NASCAR Drive For Diversity program, competes full time with Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and is a title favorite in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series.