2006 Development Drivers News Page
- Santos to Drive Busch Races for Bill Davis: Bill Davis Racing announced that Bobby Santos III will run a combination of 15 ARCA and NASCAR Busch Series events in 2007. Santos is scheduled to compete in 10 ARCA Re/Max races in the #02 machine, in addition to five Busch Series races.(SceneDaily.com)(12-7-2006)
- RCR and McCreadie reach deal? UPDATE: According to sources, both at RCR and locally, the Watertown, NY native Tim McCreadie has reached a deal with Richard Childress Racing to drive in the Winston West West Series in 2007. "Tim will be competing in the Winston West Series next year, for RCR's Driver Development Program," a source at RCR's PR Dept. has stated."The plan right now is for Tim to participate in all 14 West Series events for next season. If all goes well and we have no reason to think it won't, Tim will move up to either the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series in 2008. Tim is a very talented driver and we at RCR are very excited about him coming on board and helping RCR get back to the top." The deal will allow "T Mac" to drive in select WoO Late Model and Modified Series events on the DIRT circuit.(localtrax.com)(11-30-2006)
UPDATE: "Nothing is official yet, I haven't signed any contracts, but right now it appears it's heading that way for me," said McCreadie, 32, who has been testing a Busch Series car the past two days. "Richard Childress has been very good to me with this deal because, as a former driver himself, he understands what I'm trying to do," McCreadie said. "Any contracts, however, won't be ready for a few more weeks."(Syracuse Post-Dispatch)(12-3-2006)
- USAC Drivers Look to Busch in 2007: Bobby Santos III, Josh Wise, Bryan Clauson, Billy Wease and Stephanie Mockler are among the USAC drivers positioned to break into NASCAR. Of course, there are no guarantees. Clauson, who has signed with Ganassi Racing, suffered multiple neck injuries in a sprint car accident in September. He is expected to return to driving in the spring; his Busch Series debut is projected for the final third of the season. For every USAC champion like Wise, who will compete in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series next year for Michael Waltrip Motorsports, there is a Stevie Reeves, a two-time midget champion whose NASCAR career stalled short of the Nextel Cup Series.(Indianapolis Star)(10-26-2006)
- GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program Concludes: The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program
concluded on Tuesday, Oct.11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS), Busch Series (NBS) and Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) teams observed the invited drivers go through the paces on the1.333-mile concrete track at the two-day final stage of the three-stage program. The drivers invited to showcase their talent in the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) prepared NBS cars at NSS were Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Logano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis. The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program was designed to provide opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone's driver roster. A total of 16 drivers were invited to stages one and two. The first was September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in RCR NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. Stage two was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA in three different dirt track late model cars. Offering this unique opportunity to Chevy NASCAR teams is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track.(GM Racing PR)(10-18-2006)
- Drive for Diversity Gets on Track at South Boston: Nineteen aspiring NASCAR drivers put their best foot forward Monday [Oct 16, 2006] at South Boston Speedway, as the Drive for Diversity testing and evaluation combine got underway. Drivers were evaluated during an all-day test session at the famous short track, in hopes of securing an opportunity to race with the ethnic and gender minority driver development program in 2007. The drivers each spent 30 minutes on the track, in NASCAR Grand National Division cars prepared by veteran driver and team owner Jeff Spraker. The program, now entering its fourth year, will pair eight drivers with car owners and sponsors in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NASCAR Grand National Division next season. The future for many of these drivers began Monday at South Boston. Each driver received coaching during their on-track session from Spraker and his crew members, along with inaugural Drive for Diversity participant Morty Buckles and former South Boston Speedway track champion Frank Deiny Jr. Paul Harraka, of Fairlawn, N.J., and Mike Gallegos, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., posted two of the day’s fastest lap times. Harraka circled the 4/10-mile oval in 15.868 seconds (90.74 mph) while Gallegos’ fastest lap of the day was 16.005 seconds (89.97 mph). To put these speeds in perspective, the South Boston Speedway track qualifying record for NASCAR Busch Series cars, which are similar to the NASCAR Grand National Division cars used Monday, is 15.245 seconds (94.457 mph) set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998.
Other drivers included: Brianne Cronrath, of Pennsylvania, Jesus Hernandez, of California, Tracey Chambers, of Timberlake, N.C, Ashley Parlett, of Maryland, Chris Bristol, of Columbus, Ohio, Michael Cherry, of Valrico, Fla., Bryan Driver, of Pennington, N.J., Katie Hagar, of Nobleboro, Maine, Destiney Hays, of View Lane, Calif., Jessica Helberg, of Petaluma, Calif., Peter Hernandez, of Blue Island, Ill., Lloyd Mack, of Los Angeles, Calif., Danny Martin Jr., of Sarasota, Fla., Candace Muzny, of Oklahoma City, Okla., Alison Quick, of Redding, Iowa, Molly Rhoads, of Hastings, Minn. and Jonathan Smith, of Beacon Falls, Conn. Weather permitting, the drivers will return to South Boston Speedway for another round of tests on Tuesday. More info at drivefordiversity.com.(NASCAR PR)(10-17-2006)
- Pardo Wins to become first Mexican Driver to Win a NASCAR Race: Ruben Pardo completed a brilliant rookie season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series by holding off defending race winner Matt Kobyluck to win Saturday’s Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park’s 1.53 mile road course. Mike Olsen’s third place finish made him the series champion for the second time, five years after his first title. Pardo qualified second and trailed Busch Pole winner Kobyluck until the latter pitted after 16 laps. Pardo surrendered the top spot to Olsen after 32 circuits, with Kobyluck cycling back to the front five laps later. The last half of the 82-lap, 200-kilometer race was primarily a three way battle among Kobyluck, Pardo, and Brian Hoar, who finished fourth. Their duel was punctuated when Pardo and Kobyluck tangled in turn one on lap 56. Pardo emerged second and passed Hoar for the lead ten laps later. Sean Caisse, Olsen’s main rival for the title all summer, finished fifth and did not lead a lap for the first time all season. Pardo won $10,496 while clinching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for 2006 and winning the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for exceeding his performance at Dover International Speedway last week by 23 places. The Mexico City native also became the first international driver to win a race in the Busch East Series - and the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR touring series race.(NASCAR PR)(10-1-2006)
- Peters to RCR? UPDATE: Dodge released Timothy Peters as driver of the Craftsman Series #4 truck, Bobby Hamilton Racing announced Tuesday. However, Peters shouldn’t be without a ride for long. After racing for two seasons with Bobby Hamilton Racing, Peters is expected to sign with Richard Childress Racing as early as this weekend in New Hampshire. Phone messages left with Richard Childress Racing were not immediately returned, and Peters said he couldn’t comment on his future. “I’m not at liberty to say anything,” he said. In 17 Truck Series races this season, Peters has one top-10 finish - placing sixth on June 23 at Milwaukee. He has three career top-10 finishes in 33 Truck Series starts, and is currently 19th in the points standings. “We brought Timothy Peters in as a rookie, and with some seat time under his belt he has proven to be a hot commodity,” team owner Bobby Hamilton said in a release. A potential deal with RCR would join Peters with Danville native Peyton Sellers, who is in RCR’s development program, and South Boston native Jeff Burton. For now the plan is to team back up with his Bailey’s South Boston team for the Bailey’s 300 late model race at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 1.(Danville Register Bee)(9-15-2006)
UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has signed Timothy Peters as a driver for its 2007 NASCAR Busch Series program. Peters raced the past two seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Racing. A determination is forthcoming as to which of RCR’s Busch teams he will drive for. RCR is also scheduled to field a car for Peters in the Oct. 7 ARCA race at Talladega.(RCRRacing.com)(9-19-2006)
- Drive for Diversity Program Hits Stride in Third Year: The Drive for Diversity program is enjoying a breakout year in just its third season. Drive for Diversity is an ethnic and gender minority driver and crew member development program run by Access Marketing & Communications. The program, which is NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative, currently has eight drivers competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Although the season is only at the midway point, the drivers have combined for eight victories. The eight drivers represent a variety of racing and ethnic backgrounds. Each driver touts an impressive on-track resume that includes several national and track championships. Many of them have already received national attention for historic wins. Chris Bristol’s win at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last season made him the first African-American driver to win in the track’s 55-year history. Jesus Hernandez followed Bristol’s lead this year becoming the first Hispanic driver to win at the track. Peter Hernandez has visited victory lane twice this year at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. Allison Duncan made history at that track last season becoming the first female driver to win at the track. It was also the first win for the Drive for Diversity program. Although all eight of the current drivers have experienced success on the track, the most impressive driver of this season has been Marc Davis. Davis, a 16-year-old from Mitchellville, Md., has won five Limited Late Model races at Hickory in just 11 starts. Since turning 16, he has competed in three NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model races, earning two top-10 finishes. He finished second to Jesus Hernandez in his second career NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series start. NASCAR will spotlight teams, tracks, sponsors and partners throughout the year for significant contributions and achievement in diversity. NASCAR will also be highlighting diverse drivers currently competing throughout the different levels of the sport.(NASCAR PR)(7-28-200)
- Checkers/Rally's Joins Drive For Diversity Program: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. announced that the Company will have an active role in the 2006 Drive for Diversity program with Checkers supporting Brianne Cronrath as a primary sponsor in nine NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series races. Cronrath, a 21-year-old dean's list senior -- majoring in elementary education at Pennsylvania's Kutztown University -- will debut the sponsorship Saturday at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway, driving the #63 Checkers Chevy late model stock car for Spraker Racing. This will be Cronrath's first full season in the Drive for Diversity program. She joined the program last year at mid-season. Since joining NASCAR in 2005 as the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant, Checkers/Rally's has been a proponent of diversity as a sponsor with Bill Lester's Craftsman Truck team. For more information, please visit www.drivefordiversity.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-15-2006)
- Drive for Diversity driver wins: In his debut race with the Drive for Diversity program and Joe Gibbs Racing, 15 year-old Marc Davis won the Limited Late Model stock car race at Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway last Saturday night. In doing so, he became just the second African-American to win a stock car race at Hickory, joining former Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Chris Bristol who won at the famed short track last April. After starting third, Davis took the lead during the final lap and piloted the #92 Levi Strauss Signature Chevy to victory, making him the first Drive for Diversity driver to win in 2006. Hickory's Limited Late Model division is one of six support classes at the historic speedway, one step below the premier NASCAR-sanctioned Late Model Stock Cars.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(4-2-2006)
- NASCAR and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Form Consortium: NASCAR announced a collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in an effort to further increase diversity in the sport. The NASCAR-HBCU Consortium will aim to increase the number and quality of job opportunities for African-American students in key racing and other related automotive business activities. The announcement of the Consortium came at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Members Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Mel Watt (D-NC) announced a Congressional Resolution recognizing the creation of the NASCAR-HBCU Consortium. The Members encouraged the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and other appropriate agencies of the federal government to provide suitable assistance and support to ensure the success of this effort. The groups will work together to help create opportunities for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees at participating HBCUs. NASCAR, UTI and HBCUs will work together to increase awareness, access to and participation by minority students in the NASCAR Technical Institute curriculum. These students will receive proper training to enter the NASCAR workforce or other related fields including automotive engineering and technology, automotive safety, sports marketing and other automotive industry areas.(NASCAR PR)(2-9-2006)
- UPS Awards five Scholorships: UPS continued its commitment to helping NASCAR better reflect a changing workforce and fan base by awarding another five UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarships. The latest awards bring to more than $300,000 the financial assistance provided by UPS to minority students who want to attend the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI). This class, for the first time since the scholarship’s 2002 introduction, features five students with the same ethnic background of Hispanic origin. Candidates for the UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarship must meet NTI admission criteria at its suburban Charlotte, NC [Mooresville], location and must demonstrate automotive-related career goals and work experience as well as financial need. The latest recipients receiving these UPS scholarships include: Jason Corbett, Discovery Bay, CA; Angel Hernandez, Warsaw, NC; Gilbert Limon, Junction, TX; Victor Navarro, Colorado Springs, CO; and Silverio Olvera, Jr., Waco, TX. Last year, UPS expanded its motorsports diversity involvement with an
additional $20,000 in scholarships awarded as part of the NASCAR College Tour. UPS again will join the tour this fall on visits to four campuses of historically black or Hispanic institutions to help judge the competition among student presentations.(UPS PR)(2-7-2006)
- Drive for Diversity Drivers Announced: The 2006 Drive for Diversity driver roster was announced by NASCAR Director of Diversity Tish Sheets. The program, which is managed by Access Marketing & Communications, will give eight ethnic and gender diverse drivers the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The drivers were chosen from a pool of over 300 applicants.
The Drive for Diversity program was founded in 2004 to help develop diverse and female drivers and crew members and is endorsed as NASCAR's leading on-trac diversity initiative. Nineteen applicants were chosen to participate in the Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine last October. They were observed during various on-track test sessions and off-track interviews.
The following eight drivers were selected by their respective team owners to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series this season:
* Chris Bristol, competing with Ken Schrader Racing, is a Columbus, Ohio native who made history as the first African American to win a race at Hickory (N.C.)Motor Speedway and Caraway (N.C.) Speedway. He had three wins, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 2005.
* Brianne Cronrath of Fleetwood, Pa. participated in the Drive for Diversity program in 2005 competing at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. This season she will join Spraker Racing Enterprises.
* Allison Duncan will drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2006. Duncan, from San Rafael, Calif., has been with the Drive for Diversity program since its initial season in 2004. Last year she became the first Drive for Diversity participant to win a race and the first woman to win at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway.
* Marc Davis of Mitchellville, Md. will join Joe Gibbs Racing. In 2005 he competed at Summit Point (W. Va.) Raceway and Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway where he became the NASA Road Course Points Championship in the Super Unlimited Division.
* Paul Harraka will compete with Spraker Racing Enterprise. The Fairlawn, N.J. native had 20 wins in the World Karting Association and Stars of Karting Series in 2005. He is a seven time World Karting Association National Champion.
* Jessica Helberg of Petaluma, Calif. competed at various tracks across the west coast in 2005, earning four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. She will drive for drag racing icon Frank Pedregon in 2006.
* Jesus Hernandez of Fresno, Calif., returns for his second season as a Drive for Diversity participant. He finished 2005 with one top-five and six top-10 finishes. He will join MB2 Motorsports in 2006.
* Peter Hernandez from Blue Island, Ill. competed in the Mid-American Stock Car Series in 2005, finishing first in points with 14 top-five finishes. This season he will compete with Bill McAnally Racing.(Drive for Diversity PR)(1-24-2006)
- Drive for Diversity Taps 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance As Official Partner: 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance [www.5off5on.com], the pit crew consulting, coaching, and placement division of PIT Instruction and Training, LLC, has been named as the official Crew Member Development Partner of Drive for Diversity, a long-term solution aimed at developing a steady pipeline of well-trained and supported minority crew members for the racing industry. Drive for Diversity is managed by the Radiate Group's Access Marketing & Communications and endorsed by NASCAR. For 2004, 5 OFF 5 ON worked in conjunction with Access staff to execute the evaluation of crew members and assisted in the selection of Drive for Diversity crew members for the current season. This past January, 5 OFF 5 ON conducted a motorsports combine testing and evaluation at their facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, and the process included a physical evaluation, functional evaluation, fitness assessment, skills assessment and oral interviews. Over 40 people participated in the combine, with six being chosen for opportunities in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. While recruiting of the 2005 Drive for Diversity motorsports combine testing and evaluation will not formally begin until later this year, interested individuals are welcome to gain training and experience with 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance in the meantime.(PR)(6-13-2004)