Twelve drivers from across the United States and abroad have been invited to try out for NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, the top driver developmental program in motorsports, at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway and Bethune-Cookman University on Oct. 22-23.
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers to test their skills over a two-day period as NASCAR evaluates talent for the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development class.
In partnership with Rev Racing, NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and U.S. Legend Cars International for one full season, providing selected drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience. The goal is to provide top diverse talent with a path for development in order to improve participants’ chances of being identified as a prospect by NASCAR’s national series teams, sponsors and manufacturers.
Candidates for the 2019 class have competition experience throughout North America, Asia and Europe. All will vie for an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ drivers Daniel Suárez, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson, the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs.
“The drivers invited to this year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Combine represent a wide range of diverse backgrounds, both in terms of heritage and driving disciplines,” said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR senior manager of racing operations and event management. “The combine has been tremendous in helping the NASCAR industry identify and develop top diverse talent and this year is no different.”
The combine, which will serve as a key element in the selection process for setting the driver lineup for Rev Racing in 2019, will evaluate participants on their driving skill and work ethic on and off the track, as well as their marketing and media skills. Each driver will also take part in a physical fitness assessment at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. Additionally, Rev Racing and NASCAR will work with B-CU communications students for additional training and evaluation of the combine participants that will include a mock press conference and one-on-one interviews.
Since the inception of NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, Rev Racing has earned 19 wins, 88 top-5 finishes, and 186 top-10 finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program driver Rubén García Jr. won the K&N Pro Series East season finale at Dover International Speedway in early October, the Mexico native’s second win of the season. García Jr. is also the current Championship points leader in the NASCAR Peak Mexico Series.
“As we embark upon our 11th year managing the Drive for Diversity program in partnership with NASCAR, we couldn’t be more excited about the evolution of our driver development program,” said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. “Through selection process and training program we look forward to selecting and developing some of NASCAR’s brightest stars.”
In addition to Garcia Jr., drivers under consideration to return to the team in 2019 are Chase Cabre, Ernie Francis Jr., Nick Sanchez and Ryan Vargas. Vargas is a two-time NASCAR Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner and has won three NASCAR Late Model races. In 2018, Francis Jr. achieved four wins in the Trans-Am Championship presented by Pirelli and currently leads the series standings. He has won the series championship for four consecutive years.
This year’s participants also include Juan Manuel González, Loris Hezemans, Perry Patino, Brooke Storer, Ryu Taggart, Gracie Trotter and Britney Zamora. Storer is the 2016 Desoto Speedway Sportman Champion, while Zamora became the first female driver to win the Northwest Super Late Model Series Championship in 2017. In 2015, Taggart earned a third-place finish out of more than 7,000 drivers in the Red Bull Kart Fight in Japan.
Rev Racing also operates the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program, which targets drivers 12 to 17 to compete in the U.S. Legend Cars International (USLCI) and serves as an entry point to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. The deadline to apply for the youth program is Oct. 31, 2018.
— NASCAR —