DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Seventeen drivers from across the country will compete for spots in the top driver development program in motorsports, NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity, during a national tryout at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway from Oct. 10-12.
The 13th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers from across North and South America to test their skills over a three-day period as NASCAR evaluates talent for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Class of 2017.
“This year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine will feature some incredible talent and we’re excited to watch these young drivers compete,” said Dawn Harris, NASCAR director for multicultural development. “NASCAR’s first-class development program has produced the likes of Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr., so it will be fun to see who rises to the top at New Smyrna.”
In partnership with Rev Racing, NASCAR Drive for Diversity offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for these up-and-coming drivers; something I am very proud to be a part of for the sixth-consecutive year,” said Jefferson Hodges, Rev Racing director of competition. “To see past Drive for Diversity participants compete across all three NASCAR national series speaks volumes for the solid foundation Rev Racing provides these drivers in their budding careers.”
This year, there are 13 female drivers competing for spots with Rev Racing.
Returning this fall is Macy Causey, who at 14 years old was the youngest combine participant in NASCAR Drive for Diversity history in 2015. Also participating are Hailie Deegan, daughter of Brian Deegan, the most decorated athlete in freestyle motocross history; and Hope Hornish, the niece of 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner and current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Sam Hornish Jr.
Drivers under consideration to return to the team in 2017, but who will not compete at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, include current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers: Jairo Avila, Enrique Baca, Collin Cabre, Madeline Crane, Ruben Garcia Jr, and Ali Kern. Collin’s brother, Chase Cabre, is also among the drivers selected to compete in this year’s combine.
Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills, take part in a physical fitness assessment and receive additional training at Bethune-Cookman University.
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity members have garnered four top fives and 13 top 10s combined in the NASCAR K&N East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season and are looking to repeat last year’s season-ending victory by Cabre at Dover International Speedway.
Program graduate Kyle Larson earned his first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year at Michigan International Speedway.
Also this season, fellow graduate and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race. Suárez and fellow XFINITY regular Darrell Wallace Jr., another NASCAR Drive for Diversity alumnus, are currently competing in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.
2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine Drivers
Ali Kern, Amber Balcaen, Ariel Biggs, Armani Williams, Chase Cabre, Collin Cabre*, Enrique Baca*, Hailie Deegan, Hannah Newhouse, Hope Hornish, Jairo Avila*, Jay Beasley, Kayli Barker, Luis Rodriguez, Macy Causey, Madeline Crane*, McKenna Haase, Nicole Behar, Reegan May, Ruben Garcia Jr.*, Santiago Tovar, Taylor Jorgensen, Walter Thomas III
* Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers eligible for 2017 program; will attend but not compete in combine
CREDIT: NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications