NASCAR GEARS UP FOR DIVERSITY COMBINE
NASCAR, Rev Racing Assess Top Multicultural and Female Drivers for Class of 2016
Twenty-two drivers have three days to compete for a spot in the motorsport industry’s top driver development program, the 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 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 sixth 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 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 on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing.
Below are invitees to the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine:
Hannah Adair, 21 Tulsa Okla.
Jairo Avila, 20, Alhambra, Calif.
Kayli Barker, 18, Las Vegas, Nev.
Nicole Behar, 17, Otis Orchards, Wash.
Abraham Calderon, 26, Monterrey, Mexico
Macy Causey, 14, Yorktown, Va.
Enrique Contreras, 22, San Antonio, Texas
Madeline Crane, 17, Meansville, Ga.
Claire Decker, 20, Eagle River, Wis.
Natalie Decker, 18, Eagle River, Wis.
Juan Garcia, 17, Bogota, Colombia
Ruben Garcia Jr., 19, Mexico City, Mexico
Ali Kern, 22, Fremont, Ohio
Enrique Limon, 17, Mexico City, Mexico
Mariah McGriff, 20, Vail, Ariz.
Becca Monopoli, 26, Lakeland, Fla.
Erika Newcome, 20, Pickerington, Ohio
Hannah Newhouse, 18, Twin Falls, Idaho
Vanessa Robinson, 25, Las Cruces, N.M.
Dylan Smith, 23, Concord, N.C.
Walter Thomas, 16, Indianapolis, Ind.
Santiago Tovar, 22, Mexico City, Mexico
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.