NASCAR 2019 Youth Drive for Diversity Drivers Selected

Image courtesy Getty Images
NASCAR 2019 Youth Drive for Diversity Drivers Selected
Image courtesy Getty Images

Four exceptional young drivers will have the opportunity to test their racing skills as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program. The drivers were chosen after a national talent search in March.

To find the chosen four, NASCAR and Rev Racing hosted a youth driver combine at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C. Here, drivers from ages 12 to 16 were evaluated during practice sessions and heat races.

Four drivers graduated to the 2019 class, including Rajah Caruth, 16, an iRacing competitor from Washington D.C., who plans to pursue a traditional racing career. Among the new participants are Lacy Kuehl, 12, of Sarasota, Fla., who has experience racing dirt oval flat karts, and Blake Lothian, 16, a World Formula Kart driver from Wellesley, Mass. Meanwhile, 14-year-old U.S. Legends car driver Isabella Robusto of Fort Mill, S.C., returns to Rev Racing after having trained with the youth driver development program in 2017 and 2018.

“We were very impressed with what we saw from these drivers at the combine in March,” said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR director, racing operations and event management. “Each driver demonstrated strong potential and we believe will be successful in racing. The four selected stood out based on their abilities both on and off the track, have great experience and left quite the positive impression on our evaluators.”

Rev Racing, the competition arm of the program, will put the four drivers in INEX Legend Cars in 2019. Each driver will compete in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway in June and July, as well as several other events over the course of the summer.

“We have really taken an in-depth look at how we develop and train our drivers at the youth level,” said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. “We’ve seen the program grow over the last 10 years and make a substantial impact in NASCAR. The level of talent and enthusiasm we are already seeing in these young individuals is both promising and exciting. Connecting with drivers as early as possible allows us to have a greater impact on driver development on and off the race track. Our goal is to see these drivers move through the pipeline and into the national series.”

Graduates of the youth development program include NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver Hailie Deegan, 17, and Rev Racing Late Model driver Nicholas Sanchez, 17. In 2018, Deegan became the first female driver to win a K&N Pro Series race after taking the checkered flag at Meridian Speedway in Idaho. Deegan won her second K&N Pro Series race in 2019, finishing first at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

Sanchez raced in last year’s Bojangles Summer Shootout with Rev Racing’s Legends Car program and recently completed his rookie season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

The 2019 class features the following drivers:

Rajah Caruth: In 2018, Caruth raced the Legends ’34 Coupe in the inaugural season of the eNASCAR Ignite Series. He made 18 starts in the eight-week regular season, where he finished second seven times, made the playoffs and advanced to the championship round. Caruth has raced in more than 230 races on iRacing thus far in 2019 with 21 wins and over 1,600 laps led.

Lacy Kuehl: Kuehl has raced in a dirt oval flat kart 32 times with one first-place finish. Notable accomplishments include winning at the Inverness Grand Prix and racing for Diabetic Ketoacidosis survivors. Kuehl would eventually like to earn an invitation to the Maxxis Nationals.

Blake Lothian: Lothian raced nine of 10 races in a World Formula Kart in the 2018 New Hampshire Karting Association (NHKA) Outdoor Series in New Hampshire. His highest finish was third place and he finished the season seventh out of more than 20 drivers. In 2017, he was the NHKA Briggs and Stratton LO206 Senior Champion with seven first-place finishes and three second-place finishes.

Isabella Robusto: A current youth development driver, Robusto competed in the 2018 Bojangles Summer Shootout 10-race series where she finished sixth in the overall points standings. She won Battle at the Big Top at Texas Motor Speedway, a U.S. Legends National Qualifier.

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