Revolution Racing Embraces Technology, Hands-On Training

Revolution Racing continues to evolve its driver development curriculum by combining technology with hands-on training in its academy-style development program. Strategic partnerships with iRacing and VisionRacer, along with contributions from Logitech, allow Revolution drivers to get behind the virtual wheel to prepare for the 2010 season. In addition to weekly, traditional on-track test sessions, Revolution Racing, which operates four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams and six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model teams, is embracing simulator technology as a way for its young, up-and-coming drivers to gain additional seat time.

“This is one more tool we are able to use for driver development,” said John Story, President of Revolution Racing. “Through our partnerships with iRacing and VisionRacer, and collaboration with Logitech, our drivers are able to climb into a simulator at their leisure and test at a different track without leaving the race shop.”

iRacing provides the simulation software, Logitech is providing G27 Racing Wheels and VisionRacer supplies sleek, high performance motorsports chassis for the Revolution Racing simulators. iRacing’s software, which allows drivers to race, practice or qualify in a wide variety of cars and tracks,  is used by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Brad Kesolowski and a number of other drivers from all forms of motorsports. iRacing currently includes four of the nine tracks on the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, as well as Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, the site of the annual Toyota All-Star Showdown.

“It’s amazing how authentic the experience is with the chassis and the wheel’s  force feedback,” said Andy Santerre, Revolution’s Director of Competition, K&N Pro Series of the VisionRacer chassis and the Logitech G27 dual motor Racing Wheel. “iRacing has done a tremendous job with the tracks and cars in their simulation software and the G27 wheel and VisionRacer chassis complete the package. Our simulators will be a great learning tool for our drivers, especially on tracks like Martinsville where NASCAR policy prohibits us from testing.”

Revolution Racing is installing multiple simulators at its Mooresville, N.C. headquarters, allowing all 10 of the team’s drivers to test at the same time, as well as compete against one another in head-to-head races.

The 10 Revolution Racing drivers, each participating in the Drive for Diversity program, work in the Revolution Racing shop and have entered an academy-style training program with the team. In addition to simulator testing, their curriculum includes weekly on-track testing and hands-on shop work, as well as marketing and media training.

About iRacing.com

iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including NASCAR Racing: 2003 Season and Grand Prix Legends. Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group – the co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing – as well as an avid simracer. iRacing has developed numerous corporate relationships in the motorsport industry, including agreements to develop track simulations with International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports and Panoz Motor Sports Group.  iRacing is the official simulation partner of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Sports Car Club of America, Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, Star Mazda Championship, Skip Barber Racing School and Australia’s V8 Super School. The iRacing service is open to racers and fans of all skill levels from top-level pros to complete beginners. To join in the fun, go to www.iRacing.com.

About VisionRacer

VisionRacer combines design accolades with superior performance, creating an unmatched virtually real racing experience. A stainless steel chassis, authentic race seat, “h pattern and paddle” gear shifter with full force feedback makes the experience immersive. Recently described by WIRED magazine as “a racing fanatic’s dream rig,” the VisionRacer works with selected consoles and PC systems.  The VR3 model is available from a basic chassis to add existing equipment to through to complete “Ready to Drive” packages. An affordable alternative and compliment to racing or training programs, VisionRacer delivers a virtually real racing experience. For further information go to www.visionracer.com

BET enhances visibility of Drive for Diversity (The Sporting News)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Two major developments in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program ensure the strengthening of both the performance aspects and the visibility of the venture. In announcing its 2010 D4D lineup, NASCAR also provided a sneak preview of the eight-episode series Changing Lanes, which BET will televise later this year. Produced by NASCAR Media Group, Changing Lanes follows the progress of 30 aspiring D4D drivers from competition in a combine at Motor Mile Speedway (Radford, Va.) through the selection of four candidates for the development K&N Pro Series East. All told, 11 drivers were selected for the 2010 D4D class, which will compete under the banner of Revolution Racing, headed by former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Max Siegel. Veteran driver and car owner Andy Santerre is competition director for the team. Read more on The Sporting News

Addis Looks To Make A Difference

By David Exum, Special to NASCARHomeTracks.com

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Longtime short-track racer Blair Addis didn’t hesitate for a second at the chance to work at Revolution Racing as the team’s competition director in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

After competing as a driver and car owner for several years, Addis sold his race team in 2009 to former Dale Earnhardt Inc. executives Max Siegel and John Story, the founders of the driver development organization.

“I made a decision within minutes of the offer to come here because I’m that committed to helping minorities and women reach their dreams in NASCAR,” said Addis, who was the 2005 track champion at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway in 2005.

“I’m just thrilled to be part of this and I come here every day ready for the challenged. I’m so excited that I don’t even set my clock to wake up in the morning. There’s no way my commitment can be questioned because I’m full boar into this thing. I want it to happen and I want it to happen fast.”

Addis will oversee six of Revolution Racing’s 11 development drivers that are part of this year’s NASCAR Drive For Diversity program. The six drivers made it through the rigorous combine and testing process — which will be the subject of “Changing Lanes”,  an eight-part docu-series on BET Network that will air this summer.

Jessica Brunelli, (17-years-old), Michael Cherry (20), Katie Hagar (23), Rebecca Kasten (19), Megan Reitenour (18), and Jason Romero (25), will be the six drivers under Addis’ leadership. All six drivers will compete in 20 races this season at short tracks in the Carolinas.

“These aren’t six cookie-cutter drivers that all do the same thing,’ Addis said. “They all have completely different driving styles and we wanted to evaluate their talents and make them really good drivers. We didn’t want six people who all had the same talent. That would be boring.”

Hailing from Hayward, Calif., Brunelli is the youngest of the six drivers but Addis says you’d never know it compared to her driving style.

“You can mark it down, she’s going to win a lot of poles this year because she’s so fast and has no fear,” Addis said.

During a recent test at Greenville Pickens, Brunelli made quite the impression to her mentor.

“It was breathtaking to watch her test because she literally drove it in a car and half deeper than anyone,” Addis said. “That’s not the correct way to drive at Greenville but you’ve got to be pretty brave to do that on a short track. We just have to work on her ability on how to judge other drivers and to learn how to pass and stuff like that.”

Cherry, meanwhile, is no stranger to Addis as the Valrico, Fla., native drove for him as a Drive For Diversity driver in 2009. Cherry competed in Late Models at Greenville Pickens where he earned seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in 21 starts.

“He hasn’t peaked by no means as far as his talent and this year will be real steppingstone for him in terms of his ability as a driver,” Addis said.

Hagar, from Damariscotta, Maine, spent 2009 out west racing Late Models in at Stockton 99 and Madera Speedway where she earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

“I think she’s going to impress a lot of people,” Addis said. “She’s an aggressive driver but it’s a good aggressiveness.”

Kasten, from Mequon, Wisc., competed in 12 ASA Late Model races at various tracks and posted six top-10 finishes.

Reitenour, who hails from Miamisburg, Ohio, is in her second Drive For Diversity season. In 2009, she competed at Tri-County Motor  Speedway in Hudson, N.C. Rietenour finished fourth in the track series standings and earned seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.

“She’ll be a strong contender when she returns to Tri-County this season and all the other tracks, too,” Addis said.

Addis considers Romero the most seasoned driver in his lineup. The Cameron Park, Calif., native comes to Revolution Racing with impressive credentials. In 2009, Romero won the track championship at All-American (Roseville, Calif.) Speedway by winning 11 races, 17 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in 29 starts. Romero also finished second in the state standings and 11th in the national standings.

“He’s the veteran of our program and we all feel he deserves a shot at the next level of NASCAR, and that’s why we selected him and moved him out here,” Addis said.

NASCAR celebrates diversity accomplishments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR on Tuesday celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of pioneering individuals and organizations in the area of diversity at the third annual NASCAR Diversity Luncheon.

“Teams, tracks, sponsors and other stakeholders play an integral role in our efforts to further diversify our sport,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR’s managing director of public affairs. “The NASCAR Diversity Awards are a small way to say thank you and recognize just a few of those making a difference in creating awareness and opportunity.”

During a ceremony held in the Bill France Room at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR recognized the following individuals and organizations across the industry for their outstanding impact:

Drive for Diversity Participant: Paul Harraka

Harraka, 20, of Wayne, N.J., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the fifth year in 2010 and will race in the K&N Pro Series West. Harraka, who is of Syrian descent, has a racing resume that extends from go-karts to K&N Pro Series cars. Harraka has won a total of 158 races in all types of race cars. In 2007, Harraka was named All-American Speedway’s NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year. In 2008, he won the Whelen All-American Series Championship when he won 11 times. During his rookie season in the K&N Pro Series West, he won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award while winning two races. He is currently a sophomore at Duke University majoring in public policy.

Young Racer Award: Amber Colvin

Amber Colvin, 16, hails from Tallahassee, Fla. Colvin has been racing since 2004 in Bandoleros and Legends cars and placed second in the Georgia Winter Points Series in her first season racing Bandoleros. In 2008, she made the switch to Legends cars. In the Legends cars, Colvin had 39 starts, 24 top-5 and 36 top-ten finishes, including six wins. Colvin is affiliated with the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program.

NASCAR Diversity Internship Program: Arionne Allen

Arionne Allen, 23, of Mauldin, S.C., was an intern last summer in the NASCAR Series Operations department in Daytona Beach where she performed a number of integral duties. Allen was responsible for everything from the on-track schedule to ensuring all cars participating in racing events had the proper decals for the NASCAR contingency program, and that all decals were within guidelines. She was very much on the front line of NASCAR’s business. Allen also worked very closely with drivers and teams to ensure compliance with NASCAR agreements. Allen currently works for Revolution Racing in Mooresville, N.C.

Educational Institutional Award: NASCAR Technical Institute

The NASCAR Technical Institute was recognized for this award given to a college/university that attracts and trains diverse students for careers in the motorsports industry with a relevant curriculum. NTI, a branch of Universal Technical Institute, is the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR located in Mooresville, N.C.. As the first technical training school to officially combine a complete automotive technology training program with NASCAR specific courses, NTI addresses the nation’s shortage of automotive technicians by boosting the number of entry-level technicians entering the workforce. Students get hands-on experience in engines and repair, fuel and ignition systems, power trains, brakes, transmissions, electronics and diagnostic equipment. In addition, students are introduced to NASCAR technology, specifically advanced techniques for building and testing NASCAR engines, fabrication and pit crew training.

NASCAR Sponsor: Sunoco, Inc.

“Sunoco is proud to be a supporter of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program,” said Dawn Zimmerman, regional marketing manager for Sunoco, Inc. “The [NASCAR] Combine specifically allows for a new generation of diverse drivers to gain experience not only in racing, but media training, lessons in building self-confidence and the lifestyle that is racing. And we’re especially excited to be fueling the next generation of drivers who will be carrying on the legacy of NASCAR racing.”

Individual Recognition: Lyn St. James

Lyn St. James runs the Lyn St. James Academy, which was established in 1994 through the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation. The academy is an educational and training program for talented women race drivers who aspire to the professional levels of motorsports. St. James is one of only five women to have qualified for the Indianapolis 500 and became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992. “I want to thank NASCAR for this honor and recognition,” St. James said. ” While I’ve been actively working in the area of diversity for many years, I really feel I’m only representing the many partners who have enabled us to continue doing our Driver Development Academy and other programs.”

Santerre A Perfect Fit (NASCAR.com)

By David Exum, Special to NASCARHomeTracks.com

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – When Revolution Racing chief executive officer Max Siegel went looking for a competition director to head up his four-car stable in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season, he went looking for a proven professional: Andy Santerre.

Santerre, a four-time NASCAR East champion, will be the guiding light for the team’s four young drivers that are a part of the 2010 NASCAR Drive For Diversity program.

Mackena Bell (19-years-old), Ryan Gifford (20), Sergio Pena (16), and Darrell Wallace Jr. (16), are four of the 11 Drive For Diversity drivers that will be under Santerre’s tutelage this season. The four drivers were made it through the rigorous combine and testing process — which will be the subject of “Changing Lanes”,  an eight-part docu-series on BET Network that will air this summer.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Santerre said.”This is a great step for these young kids to come into NASCAR and we give them a shot of a lifetime. They get to drive for our team, which is a top-notch team and have great equipment. This is not about them bringing thousands of dollars to a team. It’s about their talent. ” …Read the rest on NASCAR.com

Alabama native looks to make his mark in NASCAR's diversity program (AL.com)

Darrell Wallace Jr.’s whole world is changing. And that’s just the way the high school junior from Mobile wants it.

Wallace is one of 11 drivers being presented Tuesday night in Daytona as this year’s participants in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, the seventh year of an initiative intended to boost the number of minority and female drivers in the sport.

But D4D, as it is known, has yet to see one of its alums land a full-time ride in any of NASCAR’s top three series, so changes were made. This year, instead of sending D4D participants out to race teams like interns, D4D is clumping them together in one team known as Revolution Racing and run by Max Siegel, the former president of Dale Earnhardt Inc.

“We wanted to make the program better,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR’s managing director of public affairs. “The move away from the old outsourcing model to an academy-style model is a significant step forward for the program.” Read the rest on AL.com

2010 Revolution Racing Driver Lineup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Having just completed perhaps the program’s most exciting preseason to date, the 11-member 2010 Drive for Diversity Class was introduced Tuesday night at the Daytona 500 Experience’s IMAX Theater. This latest group of young, talented and diverse NASCAR drivers was announced for the first time during Speedweeks.

The evolution of the Drive for Diversity program, NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative continues its seventh year in 2010 as competitors relocate to Charlotte and enter “academy-style” development under a single team ownership structure. The 909 Group, which took over operational responsibilities for Drive for Diversity in 2009, will own and operate one team fielding 11 Drive for Diversity competitors. Under the Revolution Racing banner, these minority and female drivers will compete on five NASCAR K&N Pro Series teams and six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams.

“Drive for Diversity, under the day-to-day management of The 909 Group, will continue to provide strong opportunities for minority and female competitors,” said Marcus Jadotte, managing director of public affairs for NASCAR. “This preseason provided key validation of the program’s new structure for developing young drivers and crew members. Academy-style training is proving a welcome evolution of an initiative that has seen 31 drivers compete, winning 33 races. D4D drivers are located in the nerve center of NASCAR with greater access to industry resources, technology, training, testing, and shop experience.” Read more on NASCAR.com…

Jessica Brunelli & Megan Reitenour on The Late Shift

Revolution Racing’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series drivers Jessica Brunelli and Megan Reitenour talk with Alex Hayden and Buddy Baker on Sirius NASCAR 128’s “The Late Shift” following the premier of “Changing Lanes” and the announcement of the 2010 Drive for Diversity class.

02-09-10 – LS – Megan Reitenour & Jessica Brunelli Full Intervie –