CONCORD, N.C. — Minorities and NASCAR aren’t two names usually associated with each other, but NASCAR is looking to change that.
They’ve started new outreach programs that are getting Latino drivers and companies involved.
“For me racing, it was my dream,” said Jorge Arteaga. He gets to drive race cars in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East.
After driving for four years in NASCAR’s Mexico Series, he earned a spot with NASCAR’s “Drivers for Diversity” program for minorities, including women, looking to make it in racing.
“It’s kind of like a school, or scholarship program,” said Arteaga.
Rev Racing, located by the speedway, manages the team. It’s like the minor leagues in baseball where drivers start in a lower level and can move up after four years in the program.
“It’s awesome, I feel really grateful, really lucky, because it’s probably the one shot I’ll have in my life. It’s the only opportunity I’ll have to make it in this sport,” said Arteaga.
The program is just one way NASCAR is reaching out to the Hispanic community. Estefania Acosta-Rubio was hired by NASCAR to market and communicate with the Latino community and says they’re starting to see interest from the Hispanic community like from Raul Alatorre.
Alatorre is with Mission Foods, the largest tortilla manufacturer in the country. They aren’t a current sponsor right now, but are looking for opportunities.
“We’re very interested in penetrating the general market in the region and I think NASCAR is a great vehicle to do that,” said Alatorre.
And for Arteaga, this program is his vehicle to go from the minor leagues to the majors.
“My dream is to become one of those drivers, to be in Daytona 500 race or at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” added Arteaga.
The Drivers for Diversity program accepts 35 drivers each year from across the world and of every minority. They learn about working with the crew, mechanics of the car, and get to drive in 14 races each season.
by AMY COWMAN / NewsChannel 36 Staff
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