NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces
Images courtesy NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Hometracks.

 

New drivers show up in the ranks of NASCAR national series drivers every year. Both the XFINITY and Camping World Series both have a number of new faces this year. Some of these new drivers have come to these series by way of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program (D4D).

A couple years ago, Kyle Busch signed a new driver for his Camping World Series truck team. This new driver was Daniel Suárez from Monterrey, Mexico. Suárez got his start with NASCAR driving in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, in Mexico. He now drives full-time for JGR in the number 19 Toyota Camry.

 

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces
Mexican D4D alumnus driver Daniel Suárez is having a great year.

 

This year, at Mid-Ohio, NASCAR fans saw the first Israeli to drive in one of the sport’s major series, this time in the XFINITY Series. This new driver is Tel Aviv, Israel native Alon Day. Day is currently driving part-time for MBM Motorsports in the numbers 40 and 13 Dodge Challengers. Day is also the first Israeli to drive in the IndyCar Series. He got his start in big-time racing competing in various racing series in Europe.

 

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces

 

Each year, NASCAR picks a number of the most promising young drivers and gives them a chance to win a spot on either a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team or a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series team for one year. There are a total of 17 drivers from all over North and South America competing for these spots, 13 of whom are young women.

The youngest of these 17 is Macy Causey of Yorktown, Va. Causey was the youngest driver ever to compete for a spot last year at the ripe old age of 14. Two other notable young drivers who are competing are 15 year old Hailie Deegan of Temecula, Calif. and 19 year old Hope Hornish, of Defiance, OH. Deegan is the daughter of freestyle motorcycle great Brian Deegan, while Hope’s dad is Sam Hornish, Jr.

 

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces
One way driving skills are tested/evaluated is through the use of high-tech driving simulators. Here we see a few of the competitors from last year trying their hand on the simulators.

 

How does the Drive for Diversity work? Well, these 17 drivers will compete against each other over a three-day period at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway between Oct. 10 and 12. Participants will have their driving skills evaluated. Since driving in NASCAR is a highly physical activity, they will also undergo extensive physical fitness testing. Finally, they will participate in additional training provided by Bethune-Cookman University.

 

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program Opening NASCAR to New Faces
Kyle Larson, driving the Chip Ganassi number 42, may be the most high-profile D4D alumnus as he garnered his first Cup Series win at Michigan this year and made it through the Elimination Round of the Cup Chase.

 

There are currently a number of NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduates competing in the three national series. In the XFINITY Series, Suárez and Darrell Wallace, Jr. are both in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Chase. Cup Series driver Kyle Larson is in the Sprint Cup Chase. Wallace drives for motorsports legend Jack Roush and Roush-Fenway Racing, while Larson is on Chip Gannassi’s Gannasi Racing team.

Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers are proving the worth of the program. In the NASCAR K&N East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, they’ve garnered four top fives and 13 top tens combined.

About Mike Aguilar 202 Articles
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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