Concord, NC (August 27, 2019)– Each year the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program along with its competition arm, Rev Racing, seeks to obtain the highest quality of applicants representing diverse backgrounds and develop them into successful NASCAR drivers. This selection process begins with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Combine. Drivers will have the opportunity to submit a digital application on RevRacing.net, highlighting racing experience, references and historical success. Ethnically diverse and female drivers have until August 31, 2019 to be considered for the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. Youth program participants, ages 12-17, are required to apply by December 31, 2019.
Applicants must meet the following requirements along with full information:
Be a female or member of one or more of the following ethnic minority classifications: American Indian, Alaskan Native or of native/indigenous descent; Asian or Pacific Islander;
Black or African-American; Latino or Hispanic
Be at least 15 years of age but no older than 26 years of age as of October 15th of the present year
Be legally eligible to work in the United States. Drivers from foreign countries are welcome to apply, however, if the applicant is not already a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident alien, the applicant must be legally capable of traveling to the designated location in the United States to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Combine. Applicants must also be able to obtain necessary authorization to accept employment in the United States if selected to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program.
Historical race information (track name/race name/dates/car count/results
Three references with contact information
Professional Headshot (jpeg)
On-track car photo (jpeg)
:90 second video
Please wear your racing suit
Professional environment as your backdrop
No longer than 90 seconds
MP3, MP4, WAV, AVI, MOV files are preferred. A link to your video is also acceptable
State your name, age, location, what series you drive in and how you think the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program will help you further your racing career.
NASCAR Drive for Diversity aligns its drivers with a team of executives, athletic trainers, crew chiefs and mentors helping them achieve professional success, and thus improving their likelihood of reaching one of the three NASCAR national series. Selected drivers will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series or Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series.
Rev Racing has continued to find success with its current drivers and alumni. In 2018, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program made a major impact, seeing three of its graduates (Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace) compete at the sport’s highest level in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Since the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program’s inception, Rev Racing has earned 20 wins, 85 top 5s, and 168 top 10 finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, with drivers finishing in the top 10 in points every season. Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Ruben Garcia Jr. made his first trip to victory lane at Memphis International Raceway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and Dover in 2018. Fellow driver Chase Cabre has collected wins at Memphis and New Hampshire in 2019.
To find more information about the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine or submit an application, please visit https://revracing.net/combine-application/. For additional information please email info@RevRacing.net.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
NASCAR, Rev Racing Assess Top Multicultural and Female Drivers for Class of 2016DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 7, 2015) – Twenty-two drivers have three days to compete for a spot in the motorsport industry’s top driver development program, NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), set to commence at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19-21, 2015.
Now in its 12th year, the annual Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers, ages 14 to 26, from across North America to test their skills over a three-day period in order to identify the newest members of the NASCAR D4D Class of 2016.
“Finding and developing diverse athletes who will represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization’s mission,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. “Every year, the bar is raised with talented applicants who have the potential and determination to succeed. We’re proud to watch our graduates in the national series and develop more diverse talent to join them in the years to come.”
In partnership with Rev Racing, the Max Siegel-owned race team, D4D offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience.
“We could not be more excited about this year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine to select the 2016 Class of Rev Racing drivers,” said team CEO Max Siegel. “Coming off of our 6th consecutive multiple race winning season, we are focused on continuing to make our program and approach world-class, as we prepare these young drivers to advance into the national series.”
The NASCAR D4D Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current D4D member Collin Cabre secured Rev Racing’s second win of 2015 with a victory at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale at Dover International Speedway in October. In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suárez, leaders in the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, are among the graduates of the program.
This year’s athletes include 13 women, notably the youngest combine participant ever at 14 years old, Macy Causey. Also participating are four stars from the NASCAR Mexico Series: Abraham Calderón, Enrique Contreras, Rubén García Jr. and Santiago Tovar.
Returning to defend their spots in the program are current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers Dylan Smith and Natalie Decker.
Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills and will also be tested on a series of strength and agility exercises at Hampton University.
Fans can follow the Combine live on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing.
Below are invitees to the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine:
In addition to drivers, NASCAR Drive for Diversity has successfully identified and developed pit crew members to find employment opportunities within the sport. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Challenge Tour will host its final Combine of the year at the NASCAR Research and Development Center on October 9, 2015 in Concord, North Carolina.
About Rev Racing
Headquartered in Concord, NC, Rev Racing, owned by Max Siegel operates the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, which is the industry’s leading developmental program for ethnic minorities and women drivers and pit crew members. For more information about Rev Racing visit https://revracing.net or follow us on Twitter @RevRacin.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association® (IMSA®) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR at www.Facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.
Pete Stuart, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications
CONCORD, NC – Each year NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative and its competition arm, Rev Racing, seek to obtain the highest quality of applicants representing the most diverse backgrounds and develop them into successful NASCAR drivers. This selection process begins with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine. This year’s application process will open May 15. The application process will close for submission on August 15, 2014.
Drivers who already participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program and are demonstrating progress, though a combination of consistent top finishes in their respective series and positive evaluations, may be offered the opportunity to continue in the program without participating in an additional Combine.
“I am very excited to see this year’s class. Each year, we have seen the applicant pool grow with experience and talented drivers. This class should be no different,” said Max Siegel, Rev Racing team owner.
Potential drivers can access the participant application at revracing.net/combine-application. Additional information and criteria can be found on supplied link. Additional support and technical assistance for the application process can be found by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow for a 24-hour turn around response.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must meet the following requirements: Between the ages of 15 and 26 (as of October 15, 2014)
• A U.S. citizen or resident alien
• Legally allowed to work in the US
• A member of one of the following ethnic minorities classifications:
African-Americans: Having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa
Asian-Indian Americans: Having origins in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Asian-Pacific Americans: Origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the
Philippines, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas
Hispanics: Having Hispanic heritage from any of the Spanish-speaking areas of Latin America or the following regions: Mexico, Central America, and South America (including Brazil) and the Caribbean basin.
Native Americans: Persons who are American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut or Native Hawaiian, and regarded as such by the community of which the person claims to be a part. Native Americans must be documented members of a North American tribe, band or otherwise organized group of native people who are indigenous to the United States.
ORA female of U.S citizenship (or resident alien)
• All drivers must demonstrate their skill and have experience in grassroots/local/regional racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 3, 2013) — As the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (#NASCARD4D) program approaches its 10-year anniversary, NASCAR and Rev Racing have selected the participants for the 2013 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine. The drivers will participate in a rigorous on- and off-track evaluation process for the opportunity to join the NASCAR D4D program and compete for Rev Racing during the 2014 season. The combine will be held at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., from Oct. 21-23.
The annual Combine is the first step in identifying and developing the future stars of the sport. Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. are among the drivers who have graduated from the NASCAR D4D program after attending the annual combine and driving for Rev Racing. Ryan Gifford, who currently drives for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut driving for Richard Childress Racing on Aug. 3.
“The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program has contributed to the success of some of the most promising young drivers and crew members in our sport,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president, public affairs and multicultural development. “The drivers announced today will have an opportunity to compete at the 2013 D4D Combine and earn a place on the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity/Rev Racing roster.”
NASCAR officials and Rev Racing representatives chose the 20 up-and-coming drivers from 95 applicants representing the United States, Canada and Latin America.
“We are excited about this year’s group of Combine participants,” said Max Siegel, owner/CEO of Rev Racing. “They represent a great cross-section of talent and experience, and any one of them would make a great addition to the 2014 Drive for Diversity team.”
The 2013 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine participants include:
Devon Amos, 22 Rio Rancho, N.M.
Annabeth Barnes, 18 Mooresville, N.C.
George Beasley, 21 Las Vegas, Nev.
Nicole Behar, 15 Otis Orchards, Wash.
Ryan Bernal, 19 Hollister, Calif.
Collin Cabre, 19 Thonotosassa, Fla.
Meagan Creech, 20 Ashland, Va.
Claire Decker, 18 Eagle River, Wis.
Paige Decker, 20 Eagle River, Wis.
Natalie Decker, 16 Eagle River, Wis.
Ruben Garcia, Jr., 17 Mexico City, Mexico
Blake Kisner, 18 Chanute, Kan.
Katlynn Leer, 14 St. Moulton, Iowa
Jack Madrid, 18 San Clemente, Calif.
Hannah Newhouse, 16 Twin Falls, Idaho
Sergio Pena, 20 Catharpin, Va.
Dylan Smith, 21 Randolph, Vt.
Kenny Stewart II, 16 Carson, Calif.
Cody Thompson, 20 Fremont, Calif.
Sam Wright, 18 Vancouver, Wash.
An additional eight young drivers will join these 20 drivers on Oct. 23 and compete for the opportunity to drive for Rev Racing during the 2014 Summer Shootout Series in INEX Legends and Bandoleros.
Jairo Avila, 17 Alhambra, Calif.
Austin Geer, 11 Johns Creek, Ga.
Kylin Hammer, 11 Meadowview, Va.
Ryleigh Lemonds, 10 Yorktown, Va.
Enrique Limon, 15 Mexico City, Mexico
Jaiden Reyna, 7 Newport News, Va.
Ashley Rogero, 15 Naples, Fla.
Walter Thomas, 15 Indianapolis, Ind.
All of the drivers attending the Combine will be mentored and coached by the Rev Racing staff, along with the team’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers Mackena Bell, Ryan Gifford, Bryan Ortiz and Daniel Suarez.
The Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau and Langley Speedway have partnered with Rev Racing and NASCAR to support the 2013 NASCAR D4D Combine. Langley Speedway will host the Combine for the third consecutive year. The paved 0.395-mile short track is one of the flattest tracks in the region with six-degree banked corners and four degrees of banking on the straightaway. Langley Speedway is an ideal track to test the abilities of NASCAR’s up-and-coming talent.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 4, 2013) – Rising stars Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. capitalized on their opportunity under the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) banner, and now enjoy regular success in NASCAR’s national series. Soon, the next generation of talent will be welcomed – and that process starts now.
Applications are being accepted online for the NASCAR D4D Combine until Aug. 26. To access the application, please visit https://revracing.net/combine-application. Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) and Wallace (@BubbaWallace), both competing in their rookie seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series respectively, participated in the program after being selected at the annual NASCAR D4D Combine.
“Through our partnership with Rev Racing, the NASCAR D4D initiative has shown increasing success in developing minority and female drivers who are ready to compete at the highest levels of our sport,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “The academy format that we have developed offers skilled drivers the training they need to move up to the next level of their racing careers.”
The application for the annual Combine is the first phase of the selection process for the NASCAR D4D program. The Combine evaluation process consists of five elements: physical fitness, driver resume, media aptitude, driver communications/knowledge and driving skills on and off track.
“We are proud of the successes we’ve had to date, and are looking forward to welcoming a new group of participants in the fall,” said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. “The talent level continues to rise each year, and the Combine process is the first step in developing the next generation of drivers for the sport.”
Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 26 as of Oct. 15, and must be a member of an ethnic minority classification or a female of U.S. citizenship. Those who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. can apply to participate in the Combine as well. All drivers must demonstrate their skill and have experience in grassroots, local or regional racing. Drivers selected to participate in the Combine will be notified in the fall after the application process has closed. To learn more about NASCAR, the NASCAR D4D program and other diverse initiatives, log on to: www.nascardiversity.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 20, 2012) As the NASCAR season hits the home stretch, preparations for 2013 are already underway. That process will begin in earnest for select drivers Oct. 16-18 with the 2012 NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Combine at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced 17 candidates invited to take part in the three-day evaluation.
“We are excited to see the continued interest in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program as evidenced by the increased breadth and depth of applicants for the evaluation,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program provides opportunities for female and minority drivers and crew members, and we are proud to be working with Rev Racing to foster great talent that will continue to enrich our sport.”
The NASCAR D4D program created in 2004 is now executed by Rev Racing and the team is competing in their third season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Currently the top two rookies in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Kyle Larson and Bryan Ortiz are in the 2012 D4D class, while Larson and Rev Racing graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. made their national series debuts this year. Larson has top 10s in both starts in the NASCAR Camping World Series and Wallace has a top 10 in all three of his NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
The 2012 Combine will be a three day driver evaluation of on-track performance, marketing and media aptitude, and physical fitness. Langley, a .4-mile asphalt oval, is the NASCAR sanctioned track hosting the event for the second consecutive year.
“Langley truly challenges those who take part in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine,” said Derik Crotts, general manager of Rev Racing, the executing partner for the program. “Participants will have several on track sessions to present their racing abilities. This will include some unique challenges that we will throw at them to make sure that they are on their game.”
The 2013 Rev Racing team will be selected from among the 2012 Rev Racing drivers and the Combine participants.
The 2012 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine participants include:
DRIVER HOMETOWN AGE
Devon Amos Rio Ranch, N.M. 21
Dustin Ash Las Vegas 24
Annabeth Barnes Hiddenite, N.C. 17
Collin Cabre Thonotosassa, Fla. 18
Kayla Cazares Goffstown, N.H. 16
Amber Colvin Mooresville, N.C. 17
Jessica Dana Olympia, Wash. 17
Paige Decker Eagle River, Wis. 19
Cassie Gannis Phoenix, Ariz. 21
Lindsay Katz Kalamazoo, Mich. 21
Jack Madrid San Clemente, Calif. 17
Kate McCall Port Orange, Fla. 16
Dallas Montes Bakersfield, Calif. 18
Hannah Newhouse Twin Falls, Idaho 15
Dylan Smith Randolph, Vt. 20
Daniel Suarez Monterrey, Mexico 20
Erica Thiering Sherwood Park, Alberta 22
CONCORD, NC. (APRIL 20, 2012) – Applications for the 2012 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine are now being accepted. Promising young drivers may now submit their applications for consideration to participate in the Combine. Drivers who are selected for the Combine and then accepted into the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, will join Rev Racing for the 2013 season, competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series or NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The application submission period will close on August 1, 2012.
Applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:
• At least 15 years of age but no older than 26 years of age as of October 15, 2012; and
• A U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien; or non-permanent resident who is legally allowed to work in the U.S.; and
• A female or recognized as a member of a classified ethnic minority
For more details about the program and to apply visit the Rev Racing website at https://revracing.net/.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After a rainy first day, it was all sunshine and fast cars at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Thursday as the 2011 Drive for Diversity Combine concluded with 26 talented drivers participating in the on-track testing.
The drivers are competing for spots on the 2012 Rev Racing team as part of Drive for Diversity, one of NASCAR’s most successful initiatives.
“Every year it’s great to see the quality of talent is improving and the word’s getting out,” said Max Siegel, CEO and owner of Revolution Racing. “We had some really talented young drivers here today and we’re just excited to get them on the track.
“It’s going to be tough to fill the spots on the team because we had so many talented drivers here.”
Rev Racing is in its third year as a partner with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity initiative. In 2011, Revolution Racing (now Rev Racing) drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Sergio Pena accounted for six wins in the 12-race NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.
“It’s exciting to see the evolution in the program,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “The success on track in 2011 certainly attracted additional talent to the Combine, and based on what we saw today, there are a couple of new standout drivers who are ready to follow in Wallace’s and Pena’s path.”
The drivers who participated in the Combine ranged from ages 16 to 24, and represented 10 U.S. states, Mexico and Puerto Rico. It attracted drivers from various racing disciplines, from open-wheel sprint cars to Legends cars and Bandoleros. The drivers with limited stock car experience impressed with how quickly they adapted to the heavier cars, while the returning participants continued to show improvement.
After waiting out the showers that cancelled Wednesday’s on-track testing, the drivers were looking forward to the chance to get behind the wheel – and they weren’t disappointed.
“We had a really great Combine run; we did really well, I’m proud of my run,” said Jessica Brunelli, 18, from Hayward, Calif., who was trying out for the third time after being part of Rev Racing for the previous two seasons. “It’s a great opportunity and a great program, and I’m really lucky I get to drive with all these amazing people.”
“Today was really cool, the car was awesome and the people were really great to work with. The car was really good. When the track was really cold it took a while to get the tires heated up, but it was awesome and I hope they were good results,” said Julian Albarracin, from Bogota, Colombia, who then provided a recap of his day in Spanish. “El carro estuvo muy bien, la gente trabajo muy bien, nunca habia visto gente trabajando asi. Nunca habia provado un carro tan bueno como un late model que prove hoy. La pista estaba muy fria, tomo mucho tiempo para calentar las llantas y calentar el motor pero salio muy bien, me senti muy bien y espero buenos resultados.”
“It’s been a great day so far,” said newcomer Ryan Reed, a 17-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. “I logged some really good laps, I’m really happy with myself, and we’ll see what that has in store for us when they announce the driver lineup for next year.”
The drivers attending the Drive for Diversity Combine will be evaluated by a select committee on multiple fronts including on-track performance, marketing and media aptitude, physical fitness and personality.
35 drivers from across North America converged on Mooresville, NC to tryout for the 2011 Revolution Racing team. Applicants were put through physical test, iRacing computer simulations, media training and on-track testing at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
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]
Jonathan Smith is living his dream.
“Racing is in the blood, and I have it. I always knew after watching NASCAR on Sundays that this was what I wanted to do,” said Smith, a Beacon Falls native.
Smith, 22, drives for Fadden Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series-East, his third year in the East series and his first with Fadden Racing. The NASCAR Camping World is made up of two regional tours, with races on the East and West coasts. Both run at a tough combination of short tracks, intermediates, road courses, and speedways. Due to the poor economy only 11 races were scheduled this season. The final race was Sept. 25 in Dover, Del.
“I wish I had more races to run,” said Smith, who was disappointed with so few races.
Smith also has had to deal with a new team and the challenges that come up with change.
“We started off rocky, because I was on a new team, but we’ve come a long way,” Smith said about the season. His best race was a ninth-place finish at Thompson International Speedway on July 11th.
Starting Friday, Smith will be a part of the Drive for Diversity Combine at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
“It’s like the football combine,” Smith said. “It’s a five-day combine where we get evaluated on track performance, and we get media training.”
This is the third straight year that he has been picked to be a part of the combine. This year the combine will be featured in the upcoming television show “Changing Lanes” which will be airing on the BET network, early next year. The 10-part series will showcase young drivers who are trying to make it in the big-time world of NASCAR.
“It’s like a reality/documentary television show,” Smith said. “It will be interesting to have cameras following us around.”
Racing is a yearlong job, and Smith will be going around to all the different tracks in the region to practice.
“I don’t really have an offseason, maybe two weeks off,” Smith said about his offseason plans.
On his goals for next season, Smith said, “I would like to be racing in the Nationwide series. We are just waiting for sponsorship. If not, then I’ll be back and try to win a championship.”
Radford, VA (AHN) – Richard Childress Racing development driver Ryan Gifford, and 29 others, will compete in on-track and off-track evaluations at Motor Mile Speedway October 19 and 20 in the Drive for Diversity Testing and Evaluation Combine.
All of the drivers will be rated on driving skills, the handling of sponsors and field questions from media. “I’m excited about getting selected to participate in this program,” Gifford said. “The Drive for Diversity Combine should give me an opportunity to improve not only my driving skills, but also the other responsibilities that go along with being a top-level driver.” Gifford, a native of Winchester, Tenn., starte racing go-karts at nine and moved his way up the ranks on local dirt tracks before being seen by Mike Dillon, Vice President of Competition at RCR and owner of Team Dillon Racing.
“Ryan is a young driver with a lot of potential,” Dillon said. “He gives great feedback to his team, no matter what he’s driving, and he’s excelled in dealing with the media and sponsors. He’s adapted quickly to stock cars, and I think the Drive for Diversity program will help him grow even more.” Gifford, who was signed to a development deal by RCR in 2008, has driven dirt and asphalt late model stocks, along with five combined starts in the NASCAR Camping World Series East and West divisions.
In his NCWS starts, the 20-year old has two runner-up and four top-10 finishes and has completed all 715 laps contested to go along with his 6.2 average finish. “This season has been fun,” Gifford said. “We’ve had some solid runs and I’ve learned a lot about how these heavier stock cars handle. Being involved in the Drive for Diversity Combine is definitely going to teach me a lot more and, hopefully, will allow me to turn those solid runs into victories next season.”
Thirty drivers from different forms of racing across the United States will showcase their skills in front of NASCAR executives and officials at the annual Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco, as they vie for one of 10 spots with Revolution Racing for the 2010 season. The Combine kicks off the new academy-style development for Drive for Diversity, with 10 drivers competing for the program under a single team ownership structure. The scouting event will take place October 16-20 in Charlotte, N.C., and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
“The drivers invited to the Combine will compete for an opportunity to be a part of the inaugural class in the D4D programs new academy-style driver development program,” said Marcus Jadotte, Managing Director of Public Affairs for NASCAR, who oversees the sanctioning body’s diversity initiatives, “As the Drive for Diversity initiative enters its seventh year, the program’s focus on driver testing and training will better position drivers to succeed and advance in our sport.”
“The Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco is an integral part of the D4D initiative,” said Max Siegel, Chief Executive Officer of The 909 Group. “We are looking forward to this year’s event and are confident the drivers invited to participate in the Combine will raise the bar in terms of talent and competition.”
Since the creation of Drive for Diversity in 2004, 31 competitors have driven for the initiative in NASCAR’s developmental series, winning 35 races. The 2009 driver class combined for six wins, 51 top fives and 125 top 10s. Driver Paul Harraka captured two wins and Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s premiere development series, the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
The 30 drivers participating in this year’s Combine, including 12 members of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, will participate in both on- and off-track evaluation over a four-day period. The on-track session will be conducted in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late models and NASCAR Camping World Series cars at Motor Mile Speedway. Off the track, the drivers will be evaluated during media and sponsor relations activities.
The drivers attending the Combine will also be featured in a television series, “Changing Lanes,” developed in collaboration with the NASCAR Media Group and set to air in early 2010 on BET. The eight-part series will showcase the development of young Drive for Diversity competitors trying to make it in the big-time world of NASCAR racing.
Ten drivers will be selected to compete for Revolution Racing under the Drive for Diversity umbrella in 2010. Six drivers will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Series East.
The following drivers will participate in this year’s Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco:
Jorge Arteaga (Houston, Tex.) is currently 11th in the NASCAR Mexico Series standings with three top fives and four top 10s.
Mackena Bell (Carson City, Nev.), a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, finished eighth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model standings at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, (Calif.), with one top five and 10 top 10s.
Jessica Brunelli (Hayward, Calif.) competed in the Modified division at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., scoring 10 top fives and 13 top 10s.
Michael Cherry (Valrico, Fla.) scored seven top fives and 19 top 10s in the Late Model division at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Tiffany Daniels (Smithfield, Va.) joined the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series East for Hamilton Racing.
Heather DesRochers (Granby, Mass.) competed in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. She earned one win, six top fives and seven top 10s in 15 races.
Phil Dugan (Meridian, Idaho) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, finishing the season 11th in the points standings.
Cassie Gannis (Phoenix, Ariz.) enjoyed three top-10 finishes in the Late Model division at Toyota Speedway this season.
Alissa Geving (Penngrove, Calif.) raced in the 360 All Pro Series at Petaluma Speedway, earning two wins and 15 top fives in 15 starts. She also set a track qualifying record.
Ryan Gifford (Winchester, Tenn.) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series East in 2009, as well as running dirt and asphalt late model events across the Southeast.
Katie Hagar (Nobleboro, Maine) set a track qualifying record at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway, driving in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Paul Harraka (Fair Lawn, N.J.) became the first Drive for Diversity driver to win a race in a NASCAR regional touring division. He finished the season with two wins and seven top fives, and was named the NASCAR Camping World Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
Laura Hayes (Wilton, Calif.) joined the 2009 Drive for Diversity class, competing in the Late Model division at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. She scored four top-10 finishes this season.
Sloan Henderson (Franklin, Ohio) earned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Ohio state ookie of the year honors at Kil-Kare Speedway in Xenia, Ohio with six top fives and 18 top 10s.
Brandie Jass (Bryan, Tex.) competed at 105 Speedway in Cleveland, Tex., racing in the Lonestar Outlaw Sprinters. She scored eight top fives and 14 top 10s in 18 events.
John Jones (Mooresville, N.C.) has been competing in the INEX Bandolero Car Series, as well as testing late models throughout North Carolina.
Rebecca Kasten (Mequon, Wis.) has spent the year racing touring series Late Models throughout the United States. She tallied six top-10 finishes this season.
Ali Kern (Fremont, Ohio) raced in the Modified division at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway, finishing third in points with two wins and nine top fives.
Brea Lopez (Vader, Wash.) finished third in the Limited Late Model division at South Sound Speedway in Tenino, Wash., with one pole, one win, four top fives and eight top 10s.
Jessica Murphy (Groveland, Fla.) competed in the Super Late Model and Limited Late Model divisions at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway this season, earning two wins and nine top fives.
Sergio Pena (Catharpin, Va.) kicked off his rookie season in the Late Model division at Shenandoah (Va.) Speedway with five wins, before moving over to Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
Juan Pitta (Galt, Calif.) earned one pole, one win and 12 top fives in the Late Model division at All American Speedway as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class.
Megan Reitenour (Miamisburg, Ohio) earned rookie of the year honors for the Late Model division at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class. She earned one pole, seven top fives and 16 top 10s.• Jason Romero (Cameron Park, Calif.) won the track championship in the Late Model division at All American Speedway after winning 11 races this season.
Natalie Sather (Fargo, N.D.) competed with the Drive for Diversity program in 2009, running in the Super Late Model division at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. Sather earned one win and 10 top fives in her rookie season on asphalt, and was the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Washington state rookie of the year.• Dylan Smith (Randolph, Vt.) was the only rookie to compete full-time in the Late Model division at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Waterbury, Vt.
Jonathan Smith (Beacon Falls, Conn.) competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series East as a member of the 2009 Drive for Diversity class. He earned two top-10 finishes this season.
Emily Sue Steck (Holman, Wis.) raced in the Late Model division at LaCrosse (Wisc.) Fairgrounds Speedway. She won three races and had 10 top fives and 14 top 10s this season.
Trista Stevenson (Pocahontas, Ill.) raced in the United States Super Truck Challenge Series, winning three poles and two feature events.
Darrell Wallace, Jr. (Mobile, Ala.) competed in 23 late model events, including nine UARA Late Model division events, scoring three wins and 11 top fives.
FRANKLIN — Facing the biggest break in her young auto racing career, how does Franklin’s Sloan Henderson prepare for it?
By surfing YouTube, watching videos and playing computer games.
Henderson, 17, got her hands on any information she could about Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, N.C., the host track for NASCAR’s Driver for Diversity (D4D) combine that runs from Friday through Tuesday, Oct. 16-20.
Henderson found YouTube clips of MMS and bought videos from the track to study how drivers attack it.
She’s also playing Xbox racing games and using a program called “Mind Shaper” to keep her mentally sharp.
“I love competition,” Henderson said. “If I do get selected I’m going to feel like I really accomplished something because there are some amazing drivers testing down there.”
Thirty drivers — including the 12 awarded D4D rides after the first combine in 2008 — are competing for 10 spots in the program. Four get rides in the Camping World Series and six in the grassroots Whelen All-American Series, all competing under the same banner of Revolution Racing.
Henderson raced in the All-American Series at Kil-Kare Speedway for Miamisburg car owner Gary Estes this season. She finished seventh in late model points with six top-5 finishes and 13 top-10s. That run also earned Henderson the Ohio Rookie of the Year award in the All-American Series.
“With an additional year of experience and a very productive year running late models, her resume really stood out,” said Marcus Jadotte, managing director of public affairs for NASCAR. “Her performance in 2009 stood out. That more than anything made Sloan a clear choice for the group this year.”
Henderson — who said the adrenaline rush from racing typically keeps her up until 4 a.m. — knows the combine won’t be all fun and games. A NASCAR-sponsored ride with the D4D program would be a boost to her career and her parents’ bank account.
“Money is so, so tight,” Henderson said of finding sponsors to keep a car going. “Racing is my life and I don’t know what I would do without it. The thought I might not be racing next year, and there’s a pretty good chance if I don’t make this combine, we’re probably not going to be racing or we’re going to race a limited schedule. It’s made me want to do so much better.”
Brea Lopez’s new puppy is named Revy. Actually, its full name is Revy Piston. Allow her to explain.
“You know, Revy … like when you rev your car,” said the energetic 21-year-old. “And Piston, well, that’s pretty self explanatory.”
Makes sense, especially for a young racer who’s making a meteoric rise in the world of driving fast.
Lopez, who resides in Vader, recently won Rookie of the Year at South Sound Speedway near Tenino in the NASCAR-style, Limited Late Models stock-car category, where she finished third in the point standings. She was the first female at the track to capture a main event and had four top-five finishes.
In itself, a successful rookie campaign driving the “big cars” after ruling midget-car racing for much of her youth would be reason to smile — and maybe even spring for a T-bone steak for little Revy.
Then Lopez received thrilling, potentially career-changing news. She was one of 30 drivers in the nation selected to participate in NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity Combine program in Charlotte, N.C., starting Friday and continuing through Oct. 20. She leaves for Charlotte on Wednesday.
The program is similar to an NFL combine, where college prospects are put to the test by scouts and team representatives. In Charlotte, Lopez and the other drivers will put their driving skills on display and undergo rigorous testing.
“I’m not that nervous. I’m more excited than anything else. I’ve been racing since I was 9 years old and I’ve grown up around it all my life. There’s nowhere I feel more comfortable than in my car,” said Lopez, who won’t be the only female battling for one of the 10 available spots on either the NASCAR Camping World Series or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, both on target for competition in 2010.
“But you can’t just drive well. You have to be the total package. You have to look, sound and drive like you know what you’re doing,” she added. “They want someone who will represent their product well, who will represent the sponsors and be a good all-around fit. But yes, if you can’t drive, they’re not going to pick you.”
The extensive training program will include on-track assessment in all areas of driving skills, communications between driver and crew, media relations and training, and — above all else — the ability to adapt to a given situation.
Lopez was also excited to learn that she and the other Combine participants will be part of a reality television series, “Changing Lanes,” which is being developed in collaboration with the NASCAR Media Group and set to air in early 2010 on the BET Network. The 10-part series will showcase the development of young Drive for Diversity competitors trying to make it in the big-time world of NASCAR racing.
Even if she is not selected, Lopez will appear on the first two episodes. If she makes the cut, she’ll likely appear in the entire series.
“They’ll put you in front of the camera to see how you react. There’s also a lot of fitness testing. You have to be in good shape,” said Lopez, who applied for the Driving for Diversity program in 2007 and 2008, but was turned down. “It’ll be fun to be on TV, but my goal is to get a ride (opportunity to drive for a team). Whatever the outcome, I’m happy to get the opportunity.”
Worthy racing portfolio
Lopez learned how to compete behind the wheel from her grandfather, Dan Press, who pieced together a successful West Coast racing career of his own before retiring. From 1998 to 2004, Lopez competed across the country in quarter- and half-midget racing series, and won more than 10 championships.
She collected two Grand National titles, four consecutive Winternational events and two regional crowns, including the 2003 Eastern Grand Nationals where she defeated more than 1,000 competitors.
The move up to racing stock cars this year was a natural progression for a woman who clearly wants to make a splash on the big stage.
“People around the country involved in racing know who I am, but they don’t know me,” said Lopez, who graduated in 2005 from Apolo High School in Winlock. “Going to the Combine, it’s a chance to further my career and show what I can do in a race car.”
Currently, there are a handful of female drivers competing on some of NASCAR’s minor-league circuits, but none in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.
Lopez isn’t being greedy. All she wants is a spot on one of the Combine teams. The Drive For Diversity program is designed to give female and minority drivers a chance to do just that.
“They’ve revamped it quite a bit,” she said. “But the bottom line is, they’re giving people like me a chance to realize their dream. And that’s pretty cool.”
Mellowing with age
Lopez describes her racing style as “evolving.” After driving aggressively during her younger days in midget cars, she says she has learned to be more patient on the track.
“Now that I’m in the bigger cars and the races are longer, you have to know when to sit back and take your time,” she said. “I’ve always been aggressive. It’s hard for me not to be aggressive.”
Lopez has encountered her share of chauvinists on the track, guys who still believe females shouldn’t waste their time in a male-dominated sport.
She has left many of them in her dust.
“I’ve dealt with it since I was 9. It’s cool to win races when you’re female. But I’ve kind of gotten over that. I have a thick skin,” she said. “I know I’m going to get scrutinized more and I’m going to get bumped around, but I don’t mind giving it back. Not everyone is going to like you, but hopefully they respect you. Every driver wants that, whether they’re male or female.”
Lopez is a workaholic. When she’s not involved with her racing team, Brea Lopez Motorsports, she dabbles in real estate and makes appearances as a motivational speaker.
“I like to go camping and play with my puppy, but I don’t have a lot of spare time,” she said. “I love going to schools and youth groups, and speaking with them about goals and dreams. I see myself as a role model, and really, there aren’t a lot of role models in the world.
“When they find out I’m a race car driver, they get pretty interested,” she said. “I want them to know that none of their dreams are silly, and that you should chase them with everything you’ve got — no matter how big or small.”
Like a high school student waiting by the mailbox for a college acceptance letter, Heather DesRochers anticipated a similar response.
Much like a college choice, this letter could change the course of DesRochers’ life and career.
The Granby resident was one of 30 drivers selected to participate next weekend in the NASCAR “Drive for Diversity” Combine. The program – which promotes opportunities in racing for women and minorities – culminates in 10 participants being selected for NASCAR-sponsored rides, either in the Camping World Series or in a Late Model at a NASCAR-sanctioned weekly short track.
“I had prepared myself not to make it,” DesRochers said. “I thought it was such a long shot.”
DesRochers, 20, heads down to Concord, N.C., next Friday for two days of activities surrounding the Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. There, the group will take part in media training workshops and an interview process – areas right in Heather’s wheelhouse.
“I love the fans, I love talking to people,” said DesRochers, an elementary education major at Westfield State College. “It’s always been a big thing for me.”
The next phase is Oct. 19-20, when the drivers show off their on-track skills in identical cars at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. DesRochers, who races in the SK Lights class at Stafford Motor Speedway, has driven open-wheel cars since getting her first go-kart at age 10, so she is looking forward to trying a full-bodied stock car.
“It will be different for me to go from open-wheel to a full-bodied car,” DesRochers said. “Handling-wise, you can’t drive them as hard as you drive the Modified.”
This season, DesRochers has certainly gotten the hang of the SK Lights car. She finished fourth in the points in her third season in the class and closed out the season with a victory Sunday. She and new crew chief Jimmy Fuller made an instant connection, and the improvement was glaring.
DesRochers hopes the afterglow of her victory carries over to the Combine.
“Now, I get to go down there carrying the momentum from the win,” she said. “I feel a lot more comfortable going down there now.”
The whole Combine experience will be part of a reality show chronicling the Drive for Diversity process. “Changing Lanes” is slated to premiere in early 2010 on BET, and most of the first two episodes will be devoted to the combine.
Since its inception in December 2004, “D4D” has developed 31 minority or female drivers who have won 33 races. This season alone, 12 drivers have combined for six wins, 51 top-fives and 125 top-10 finishes. The program is now under the banner of Revolution Racing and The 909 Group, run by former Dale Earnhardt Inc. chief Max Siegel.
“To better assess and develop talent, we are putting the drivers under one roof and in identical cars,” Siegel said. “This new standardized structure will also create more meaningful sponsorship opportunities that will in turn provide resources necessary to compete at the highest level with the goal of getting drivers to NASCAR’s premier series.”
For DesRochers, the program also gives her a chance to dispel some myths about women in racing.
“I think it’s just an awesome program,” said DesRochers, who had to fill out a lengthy application and submit a 60-second video on why she should be selected. “I feel like, in racing, I’ve been criticized more than my male competitors because I am a girl. I think we need this chance.”
DesRochers’ future racing plans are on hold, pending the results of the Combine. If she wins one of the rides, she will likely have to move to North Carolina, where the Revolution Racing team is based. If not, her 2010 plans depend on securing sponsorship to keep her on track locally.
It’s all part of a journey that began in go-karts at the now-defunct Pinnacle Raceway in Chicopee, continued at kart tracks throughout the Northeast and eventually landed her in a Mini-Sprint at Whip City Speedway in Westfield. Stafford beckoned after that, and now the chance of a lifetime awaits.
“I could have either gotten a fun-kart or one you could race,” DesRochers said. “I had no idea girls could race, so I picked that option, and it’s definitely been love from there.”
Mackena Bell will be heading back east to the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia for the Drive for Diversity Combine October 16-20. Bell is hoping to qualify for one of the 10 slots available in the 2010 program. Drive for Diversity will see wholesale changes next season, with all 10 cars run out of one shop under the Revolution Racing banner.
Max Siegel, former honcho of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., will maintain his role as Chief Executive Officer of both Revolution and The 909 Group, which is the marketing and management arm of the program. Drivers in the D4D program will compete in the Camping World Series East and Whelen All-American Series at a variety of east coast tracks. So if Bell is selected for her second year in the program, she will be relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina and will be immersed in racing as never before.
Washington State driving star Brea Lopez has been selected as a participant for the Drive for Diversity Combine that will take place in mid-October. The 909 Group, which took over the operations of the program, will own and operate ten racing teams and field the teams under the newly formed Revolution Racing banner. Four of the teams will compete with the NASCAR Camping World Series and the remaining six teams will compete on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and on target for competition in 2010. This once in a lifetime opportunity has been a dream for Brea for quite some time. The spirited young racer has been racing since the age of nine and realizes she needs to make the most of the golden opportunity before her with her selection into the program.
The NASCAR based group will determine the drivers for the 2010 program once the Combine is completed. The Combine will take place from October 16-20 and the extensive training program will include on track assessment in all areas of driving skills, communications between driver and crew, media relations and training both on and off the track and above all ability to adapt to a given situation. Former 4-time NASCAR Camping World Series champion Andy Santerre will head up the Camping World operations and current car owner Blair Addis will oversee the NASCAR Whelen All-American program.
The challenge to try something new has been a staple in the life of 21 year old driving sensation Brea Lopez. Brea began chasing her racing dream at the age of nine as she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, the legendary and very successful West Coast racer Dan Press. From 1998 until 2004 Brea chased the dream across the country following the quarter and half midget racing series and becoming quite successful herself in racing. Brea won more than ten championships in that span of time that included two Grand National titles, four consecutive Winternational events and two regional titles that included the 2003 Eastern Grands where she captured the championship over more than one thousand fellow competitors.
Brea’s success spawned new goals for her racing endeavors. Her grandfather looked at many divisions of racing and decided the correct path was to spend some time in the open wheel ranks driving a midget race car. Brea spent fours years competing with the Washington Midget Racing Association and did some traveling to compete in with other sanctioning bodies as she honed her skills in the powerful little creations. Brea was “Rookie of the Year” in her first season while being the runnerup in the final points. While her second year in the Midgets was an off year due to many mechanical issues and being the victim of having the race car stolen on a trip out of state, Brea enjoyed successful seasons in 2007 and 2008 winning a main event in California and challenged for the series titles all season long.
Brea and her grandfather decided to change divisions after the 2008 season was completed. After deciding the correct approach was with the full-fendered late model division, her grandfather purchased a Victory Circle chassis race car and fitted the car with a crate motor for competition with the Limited Late Model division at the South Sound Speedway in Washington. The transition for Brea was a quick one as she quickly adpated to the heavier, bulkier cars with ease and captured a win in July in her initial season. With the season schedule having one more event, Brea is sitting in second place in the points battle and has enjoyed the close side by side competition the division offers.
Brea Lopez was honored recently by the WNBA Seattle Storm franchise in their salute to Women in Sports in the area. Ahtletes from all division of the sporting world were honored for their achievements in their respective sport as they were announced at mid-court and took part in an autograph signing period during her stay in Seattle. The event took place on August 25th and although the invitation took Lopez by surprise, she was honored to join her fellow athletes in the joyously rewarding experience.
Brea’s grandfather, West Coast racing legend Dan Press, continues to work his magic with the race car as the car owner, crew chief, mentor and friend for the lady racer. Press is accustomed to working on this type of racing equipment as his success behind the wheel was driving late model type race cars. The team is utilizing a Victory Circle race chassis and the racer has been fitted it with a GM Crate motor for competition with the Limited Late Model division at the South Sound Speedway located in Rochester, Washington. The track will be a familiar and a good starting point for Lopez as she has always enjoyed great success while running her Midget on the fastest 3/8 mile raceway on the West Coast.
While the Brea Lopez Motorsports Team is ready for the team’s foray into the late model competition, the search to add additional sponsors to the fold continues on a daily basis. The downturn in the national economy has become a difficult challenge for all racers trying to find glory and success in a racing environment. Anyone who would like to lend support to the Brea Lopez Motorsports Team efforts should contact her through her website for further information.
Brea Lopez would like to thank all of her sponsors and supporters for their efforts in helping the team prepare for the 2009 racing season. Redline Oil, Finish Line Racing Equipment and new sponsor Joe’s Racing Products, Nex-Gen Motorsports and GA Motorsports Media have all played a major role in the success of the team.
Her racing resume showed promise, but dreams of a future racing NASCAR were unlikely, as they are for any aspiring racer.
Racing at any level is expensive, and Jessica Murphy’s family felt the strain of her racing career, which was based at New Smyrna Speedway. They might not have to worry about that anymore.
Murphy, who lives in Groveland, was selected last week as one of 30 drivers invited to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Combine at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia. The combine will take place on October 19 and 20, and from it NASCAR will select 10 drivers to enter its Drive for Diversity program, in which NASCAR hopes to provide female and minority drivers with an inlet into professional racing.
“They’re giving me a great opportunity,” Murphy said.
Murphy began racing quartermidgets when she was six years old. The quartermidget track at New Smyrna Speedway hadn’t been built yet, so she raced in Ocoee at a track that no longer exists. Her father raced, and after a while two racers in the family became too complicated, so Murphy took a break.
At 12 years old, Murphy returned to the sport and raced Bandoleros. In 2002, she won six races in just 10 starts. Murphy won the New Smyrna Speedway track championship in the Pro Truck division in 2007, and last year she began racing late models.
“It’s just, it’s real fun,” said Murphy, who is 19. “You meet new people. I just like going fast.”
Several months ago, Murphy said someone at New Smyrna Speedway submitted her name to NASCAR. She interviewed, and then applied for the program.
NASCAR began Drive for Diversity in 2004. In the past the program’s participants were paired with teams that competed in the late model series or NASCAR’s regional series. This season the program shifts to Charlotte, where all 10 drivers will race for Revolution Racing, a team created specifically for the program.
Four of the selected drivers will race in the NASCAR Camping World Series and six in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing late models. They’ll all drive identical equipment and have the chance to move up within the organization from late model to Camping World Series competition.
“Five years from now, we’d like to see a number of female and minority drivers competing in the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide and even the Sprint Cup Series,” said Max Siegel, the CEO of the 909 group, which runs Revolution Racing, when asked what he’d like to see to consider the program successful.
If Murphy impresses the right people, she could be a part of that success.