NASCAR’s marketing boss goes under cover

He was “Kevin Thomas from Vermont,” the owner of a water purification business and winner of a fan contest allowing him to take a temporary job in NASCAR to be filmed for a documentary. At least that was the cover story believed by NASCAR industry employees preparing for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July. In reality, there was no contest. And mild-mannered Kevin Thomas was actually Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer, filming an episode of the hit show Undercover Boss, airing at 9 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS. Through its Los Angeles office, which places the sport in mainstream entertainment ranging from introducing the grand showcase on The Price is Right to Talladega Nights, NASCAR had been discussing a slot on Undercover Boss with CBS for several years. Too many fans would instantly recognize NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France or president Mike Helton. Phelps proved to be the missing ingredient. Read more of Andrew Giongola’s article on

Drive for Diversity Combine Set for Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway

Mooresville, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2010) – Thirty-Five drivers from 18 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico are prepared to showcase their skills at the seventh annual Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco Sunday through Tuesday at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. The drivers, ranging in age from 16 to 26, hope to earn a spot on the Revolution Racing team that will again field teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.  Drivers on the 2010 Revolution Racing team enjoyed the best on-track season in the history of the Drive for Diversity program, earning four victories, 42 top-five finishes and 80 top 10s in 141 starts.  Included in that number were impressive results in the highly competitive NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  Ryan Gifford, Sergio Pena and Darrell Wallace Jr. each competed in all 10 Series races, while Mackena Bell (six races), Michael Cherry (three races) and Mark Davis (one race) each took turns driving the fourth Revolution Racing car.  These four teams scored two wins, 10 top fives and 15 top 10s. The drivers attending the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco will be evaluated on multiple fronts during the Combine including on-track performance, marketing and media aptitude, physical fitness, personality and more. Following the three-day assessment, the results will be evaluated by a committee that will select participants for the 2011 season. Grandstands at Motor Mile Speedway will be open to the public Monday and Tuesday with on-track testing scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. [frame_toggle title=”Participating Drivers”]
  • Jorge Arteaga – Agualcalientes, Mexico, Age 24
  • Kelsey Bauer – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, 21
  • Mackena Bell – Carson City, Nevada, 20
  • Juan Carlos Blum – Miami, Florida, 16
  • Brandy Bower – Marysville, Ohio, 23
  • Jessica Brunelli – Haywood, California, 17
  • Katrina Canney – Charlotte, North Carolina, 20
  • Cole Carbrera – Exeter, California, 16
  • Michael Cherry – Valrico, Florida, 21
  • Enrique Contreras – Mexico, 18
  • Heather DesRochers – Granby, Massachusetts, 21
  • Brittany Finley – Ardmore, Alabama, 24
  • Cassie Gannis – Phoenix, Arizona, 19
  • Trey Gibson – Easley, South Carolina, 18
  • Ryan Gifford – Winchester, Tennessee, 21
  • Katie Hagar – Damariscotta, Maine, 24
  • Sloan Henderson – Franklin, Ohio, 17
  • Rebecca Kasten – Mequon, Wisconsin, 20
  • Ali Kern – Fremont, Ohio, 17
  • Julia Landauer – New York, New York, 18
  • Amanda Lynch – Greenville, South Carolina, 21
  • Clinton Mills – Indian Trail, North Carolina, 23
  • Dallas Montes – Bakersfield, California, 16
  • Jeff Oleen – Bethesda, Maryland, 20
  • Tayla Orleans – Randleman, North Carolina, 17
  • Bryan Ortiz – Bayamon, Puerto Rico, 21
  • Sergio Pena – Winchester, Virginia, 17
  • Matthew Piercy – Conover, North Carolina, 16
  • Troy Rave – Westby, Wisconsin, 21
  • Ryan Reed – Bakersfield, California, 16
  • Jason Romero – Cameron Park, California, 26
  • Dylan Smith – Randolph, Vermont, 17
  • Lacey Tuttle – Elmwood, Nebraska, 21
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. – Concord, N.C., 17
  • Kristen Wallace – Jasper, Georgia, 17[/frame_toggle]
[frame_toggle title=”ABOUT DRIVE FOR DIVERSITY”]Drive for Diversity is the industry’s leading development program for minority and female drivers and crew members.  The Drive for Diversity program currently supports drivers in two of NASCAR’s development series – the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.  Drive for Diversity also supports crew member candidate through a year-long pit crew training program.  Crew members have gone on to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Diversity is NASCAR’s top corporate initiative.  The Drive for Diversity program has been successful in creating meaningful opportunities for minority and female competitors.  The program helps to further diversity NASCAR’s participant and audience base.  The program has seen continuous growth since its inception in 2004.[/frame_toggle]

Wallace Earns K&N East Rookie Honors

[callout_left]Revolution Racing Teen Edges Red Bull’s Whitt For Season Award[/callout_left]DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced today that Darrell Wallace Jr. has earned 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Wallace compiled five top fives and seven top 10s in 10 races and finished third in the overall season standings. His rookie campaign was highlighted by wins at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway. The Greenville win in his series debut marked the first victory in the 24-year history of the K&N Pro Series East for an African-American driver. Wallace edged Red Bull Racing development driver Cole Whitt in one of the closest Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitions in series history. A Mobile, Ala., driver who will not turn 17 until early October, Wallace drove for Revolution Racing in 2010 as part of Drive for Diversity. Wallace joins drivers such as Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Ryan Truex that have won Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in recent seasons in the K&N Pro Series East. As a 2010 race winner, Wallace has a guaranteed starting position in January’s NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). The 2010 K&N Pro Series East season concluded on Sept. 24 when Brett Moffitt won the Sunoco 150 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Truex earned his second consecutive championship.