#D4DC11: Scenes from the NASCAR Diversity Combine

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.

Darrell Wallace Jr. Wins Second NASCAR K&N Pro Series Event of the Season


Revolution Racing Driver Wins His Fourth Race in 19 Career Starts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 24, 2011) – Darrell Wallace Jr. got back to his winnings ways in the Jegs 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.

En route to winning his fourth race in 19 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races over two seasons, and his second of 2011, Wallace and his U.S. Army Toyota Camry ran a nearly flawless race. He qualified second behind series point leader Max Gresham, but made a pass for the lead on lap 36 and never was seriously challenged again.

Wallace’s first win of the season came at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway in April.
The win marked Revolution Racing’s fourth win in nine starts in 2011, with teammate Sergio Pena, driving the Freightliner Toyota Camry, to two NASCAR K&N Pro Series wins this season.

With the win, Wallace again became a serious contender in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, now trailing Gresham by 100 points with three races remaining and Brett Moffitt by 20 points.

After solid races by all four Revolution Racing teams, Michael Cherry in the Fueling Your Dreams Tour Toyota Camry finished 11th, Ryan Gifford in the TRD Toyota Camry finished 14th and Pena finished 15th, one lap down.

Late in the running, with Gifford and Pena running nose to tail in fifth and sixth, Pena tagged the TRD Camry and sent Gifford spinning, which cost him valuable track position. Later in the running, Pena was running in the top five when the he was turned by the 16 car of Daniel Suarez causing Pena to spin into the infield and lose one lap.

All four Revolution Racing Camry’s finished in the top 15 and brought their cars home without heavy damage despite the rough short-track nature of Columbus.

On the same night, the Revolution Racing Whelen All-American Series late model program was competing with three NASCAR Drive for Diversity participants at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Mackena Bell had the best night of the three drivers in the 60-lap race, despite finishing 14th of 18 cars. Running well within the top 10, her Toyota Camry was forced to stop on the track when a late race spin in front of her blocked the track. She lost valuable track position, and despite running a very clean and consistent race she finished well back in the order. However, her performance showed that she has improved greatly in the Whelen All-American Series.

Tayla Orleans and Trey Gibson finished ninth and 10th in their Toyota Camry’s respectively at Hickory, and both ran good races.

The Revolution Racing Whelen All-American Series late model program will compete in more than 140 races with six drivers as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program. Four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and multiple youth racing teams are supported by NASCAR, the U.S. Army, Toyota Motor Sales, Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Goodyear, Freightliner Trucks, Wix Filters, Castle Products, Logitech, Play Seat, iRacing and others.

The Jegs 150 can be seen Thursday night at 6 p.m. (ET) on SPEED.