Concord, NC (Jun. 18) — NASCAR’s Crew Member Development program traveled to St. Louis on Thursday for the Pit Crew Combine & Expo. The event, hosted in conjunction with The Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation and St. Louis Parks & Recreation, was held at Forest Park where over 100 adults and children were exposed to the different careers in the motorsports industry. Johnson, a native of St. Louis, is a former defensive back who played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions in the mid 1980s, and he has spent over 21 years giving back to the community to enhance the lives of inner city youth. “The combine and expo were great opportunities for the African-American community, particularly in St. Louis, to get exposed to an area that they may not have had an opportunity to see,” Johnson said. “It was one of the best things to happen to our community.” Six men aging from 18-30 were put to the test, going through a series of exercise drills to see if they were capable of handling the necessary tasks of pit crew member. Each of the men had a background in sports. “It opened up a new avenue for a career later on in their lives,” said Horton, Director of Athletic Performance for Rev Racing. While attendees learned the ins and outs of what it takes to be on a pit crew, they were also able to meet and speak with some of NASCAR’s executives. “I thought the combine was great,” said Jim Cassidy, Vice President of Racing Operations for NASCAR, who attended the event. “The expo in conjunction with it was a perfect way to make our return to St. Louis.” Last weekend was the first time since 2007 that the Camping World Truck Series had been to St. Louis and combine participants were invited to watch the race. They were able to witness a NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) victory. Darrell Wallace, Jr., a former member of Rev Racing and D4D graduate, won the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday evening. It was Wallace’s second win in the series.
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development Program presented by Sprint will kick-off the 2010 season Daytona International Speedway. Eight current NASCAR Drive for Diversity pit crew athletes, along with at least three program graduates, will go over-the-wall during Speedweeks competition. Seven current NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member program participants will compete with teams in the ARCA Racing Series event on Feb. 6. The ARCA Racing Series is used as a stepping stone for pit crew athletes looking to compete in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as they develop their skills. One D4D pit crew athlete, Anwar Parrish, will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports in 2010. Parrish will make his debut with the team during the Daytona 500. “Our Drive for Diversity pit crew athletes have trained hard during the off-season,” said pit crew coach Phil Horton. “It’s important for their development to get them real world, over-the-wall experience. We’re proud to have 11 pit crew athletes representing Drive for Diversity in Daytona.” Three NASCAR Drive for Diversity program graduates – Dion Williams, Kenyatta Houston and Antonio Morrison – have been competing with teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and will continue to compete at national touring series level in 2010. Williams works for Hendrick Motorsports, Houston works for Kevin Harvick Inc. and Furniture Row Racing and Morrison works for Joe Gibbs Racing. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development Program presented by Sprint is a comprehensive year-round training program for minority and female pit crew athletes. The program teaches aspiring pit crew members the fundamentals, discipline and confidence required to be a top athlete on pit road. The pit crew training program includes hands-on over-the-wall position training for tire changers, tire carriers, fuelers and jackmen, as well as weight training, agility and footwork programs. Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development Program presented by Sprint pit crew athletes:
- Rayshaud Barkley, 27, of Chesapeake, Va., will compete as a jackman for Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series.
- Tesfa Lee, 29, of Brooklyn, N.Y., will compete as a tire changer with Coulter Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series.
- Lionel Legra, 24, of Miami, Fla., will go over-the-wall in the ARCA Racing Series as a tire carrier for Cunningham Motorsports.
- Marcus McGruder, 27, of Atlanta, is a tire changer and will be competing with Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series.
- Anwar Parrish, 27, of Shelby, N.C., will be competing as a tire carrier with Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
- Josh Edwards, 24 of Ocala, Fla., will compete with Cunningham Motorsports as a jackman in the ARCA Racing Series.
- Kevin Richardson, 23 of Elizabethtown, N.C., is a tire changer and will be competing in the ARCA Racing Series with Cunningham Motorsports.
- Richie Williams, 26, of Camden, S.C., will compete as a jackman for Coulter Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series.