Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rain Washes Out Day 3 of NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine

Rain persisted most of the morning at New Smyrna Speedway
(Photo Courtesy Jason Christley/NASCAR)

Via NASCAR PR

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2017) –- Heavy rains overnight and throughout the morning combined with track conditions in the afternoon to wash out Day 3 of the 2017 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Honda Generators. The 12 participants competing for a spot on the 2018 Rev Racing roster were slated to take laps in the team's NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars. The early end to the session, however, did not adversely affect the evaluation process.

Drivers took part in media and physical assessment at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona on Monday, and each of them got two sessions in a Late Model Stock Car Tuesday at New Smyrna Speedway.

"This has been probably our most talented group of drivers we've brought to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine," said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR manager of racing operations & event management. "Each driver really stepped up both off the track and on the track. We had two great days of evaluation.

"Unfortunately, we didn't get on track on the third day, but based on the body of work we've seen, we feel we're at a point to make a decision on who we're going select for next year."

The first two days were comparable to the experience of previous NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combines. The additional day of testing, in the K&N Pro Series cars, was scheduled to be a new addition this season to provide another layer of data; until inclement weather changed those plans.

As part of the evolution of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, though, the enhanced focus the overall driver profile means Monday's off-track evaluations will factor more into the 2018 roster than in the past. The team is also looking at increase in seat time to ramp up the competition next season.

To that end, a smaller pool of 12 participants were invited to the tryout, out of which four will be selected for the 2018 Rev Racing team. Three of those drivers will race full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, while also running full-time in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in a Late Model – totaling more than 30 races next season. In addition, the fourth driver will compete full-time in the Late Model program and serve as an alternate for the K&N Pro Series program.

It also meant that current Rev Racing drivers who were invited were also part of the on-track testing, which was new this year.

One of those drivers looking to reclaim a spot with Rev Racing is Ruben Garcia Jr. The 2015 NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion, Garcia has driven for Rev Racing in the K&N Pro Series each of the last two years. He finished fifth in the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship points.

"Seat time, especially for those of us trying to get up in the ranks, is the most important thing," said Garcia. "I think it's a great step for the program. I'm actually really, really excited and hoping I can get back into the program to be able to get that seat time. I think it's a great, great opportunity for us."

Garcia is one of two drivers from the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series who were invited to the combine. He was joined in New Smyrna by Fabian Welter, as they look to follow in the path paved by 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez, who got his start in NASCAR Mexico. Welter has already clinched the championship for the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Challenge Series -- the second level for NASCAR in Mexico -- with a race remaining.

"The base is very similar," said Garcia when asked to compare the K&N Pro cars to the ones in Mexico. "A K&N car is kind of like a NASCAR Mexico car on steroids: It's bigger, heavier, way more horsepower. It has more variables set-up wise, so more things you need to think about while you're practicing.”

For a driver, though, Garcia said, they still have one important thing in common: “They're still stock cars with a V8 engine.”

Since 2010, Rev Racing has managed the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team. It's compiled 17 wins among six different drivers and produced national series race winners Kyle Larson, Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. Earlier this year, Rev Racing's Macy Causey became the first female driver in the 61-year history of South Boston Speedway to win a Late Model Stock Car feature.

In addition to being sponsored by Honda Generators, the Combine received sponsorship support from partners AiM Tech, Bethune-Cookman, Five Star Race Car Bodies, M2 Promotions, Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach, and Sunoco.

In an expanded role for next year, Rev Racing will also select an additional four youth drivers at a future combine. Those drivers will participate in the organization’s expanded Legends and Bandoleros program next season. This past season, Rev Racing had two Legends cars in the Bojangles Summer Shootout. The team will also provide several driver development test sessions in its Late Model at Langley Speedway in Virginia and New Smyrna during the 2018 race season for prospective multicultural and female drivers.

2017 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine Drivers:
Driver Hometown Age
Chase Cabre Tampa, Fla. 20
Collin Cabre Tampa, Fla. 23
Macy Causey Seaford, Va. 16
Madeline Crane Meansville, Ga. 19
Ernie Francis Jr. Dania, Fla. 19
Ruben Garcia Mexico City, Mexico 21
McKenna Haase Carlisle, Iowa 20
Nicholas Sanchez Homestead, Fla. 16
Ryan Vargas La Mirada, Calif. 16
Fabian Welter Mexico City, Mexico 21
Armani Williams Grosse Point, Mich. 17
Brittney Zamora Kennewick, Wash. 18

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine Gets On Track On Day 2

Weather delayed the start of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, but the
12 drivers were able to turn laps in Rev Racing's Late Model Stock cars
(Photo Courtesy Jason Christley/NASCAR)

Via NASCAR PR

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2017) –- After a day of media training and physical assessment, the 12 drivers participating in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Honda Generators finally got on track Tuesday. But not without a little extra waiting for the rain to clear at New Smyrna Speedway.

Once the clouds moved away and the track was dry, the drivers were quick to get on the gas to show off their skills around the banked half-mile short track. The drivers took turns with two 10-lap sessions apiece in one of three Late Models, which were identically prepared by Rev Racing. Competition officials from NASCAR and Rev Racing evaluated them on their times, as well as their feedback and consistency throughout their runs.

"It was amazing," said 16-year-old Ryan Vargas, who is coming off a season where he finished third in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California standings. "To be here and take what I learned and apply it today is really big step for me.

"I've been saying it all weekend. I'm more excited than I am nervous. I know in the end, there's four spots available and we all have the same opportunity to get those spots. I'm just hoping I show with my dedication and my consistency on track that I am worthy."

As part of the evolution of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, which will feature an enhanced focus on seat time to increase competition at the combine and on the track next season, this week has a little different look than year's past. Twelve participants were invited to the three-day tryout, out of which four will be selected for the 2018 Rev Racing team. Three of those drivers will race full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, while also running full-time in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in a Late Model – totaling more than 30 races next season. In addition, the fourth driver will compete full-time in the Late Model program and serve as an alternate for the K&N Pro Series program.

"The talent pool is deep and as the years progressed, we wanted to make sure we continued to upgrade and improve the support we give the drivers," said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. "We're having more in-depth evaluation on track in both Late Model and K&N Pro Series cars, physical assessment and off-track evaluation, and even restructuring the composition of the team for next year."

Since 2010, Rev Racing has managed the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team. It's compiled 17 wins among six different drivers and produced national series race winners Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. Earlier this year, Rev Racing's Macy Causey became the first female driver in the 61-year history of South Boston Speedway to win a Late Model Stock Car feature.

One of the other differences at this year's Combine, the current Rev Racing drivers who were invited were also part of the on-track testing.

"Having a whole season under my belt with Rev Racing and knowing how calm they are and that they just want us to do the best we can do," said Causey, "I'm excited to get back in the Late Model car and see if I can improve my time a little bit."

"For me, I do think of it in the back of my mind, it is like I'm re-trying out all over again -- they're evaluating everybody. I don't really try to let it get to me. I try to do the best I can do and work with what I've got and see how it turns out."

The on-track assessment will continue on Wednesday, as the drivers will test in NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars under a similar format.

Wednesday's testing will also be streamed live on FansChoice.TV.

In addition to being sponsored by Honda Generators, the Combine received sponsorship support from partners AiM Tech, Bethune-Cookman, Five Star Race Car Bodies, M2 Promotions, Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach, and Sunoco.

In an expanded role for next year, Rev Racing will also select an additional four youth drivers at a future combine. Those drivers will participate in the organization’s expanded Legends and Bandoleros program next season. This past season, Rev Racing had two Legends cars in the Bojangles Summer Shootout. The team will also provide several driver development test sessions in its Late Model at Langley Speedway in Virginia and New Smyrna during the 2018 race season for prospective multicultural and female drivers.

2017 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine Drivers:
Driver Hometown Age
Chase Cabre Tampa, Fla. 20
Collin Cabre Tampa, Fla. 23
Macy Causey Seaford, Va. 16
Madeline Crane Meansville, Ga. 19
Ernie Francis Jr. Dania, Fla. 19
Ruben Garcia Mexico City, Mexico 21
McKenna Haase Carlisle, Iowa 20
Nicholas Sanchez Homestead, Fla. 16
Ryan Vargas La Mirada, Calif. 16
Fabian Welter Mexico City, Mexico 21
Armani Williams Grosse Point, Mich. 17
Brittney Zamora Kennewick, Wash. 18

Knight Claims Third North State Modified Championship



Via NSMS PR

Darrin Knight of Kelseyville skated to his third consecutive championship in the North State Modified Series, presented by Protect the Harvest, beating out Upper Lake's Charlie Collins by only 10 points.

The battle went right down to the wire during the final race at All American Speedway in Roseville. Going into the race Knight had a 16 point lead over Collins. But when Knight was bumped from the rear while leading, forcing him to restart at the back of the 24 car field, Collins was running fourth and moved into the points lead. This put Knight on a mission to get back up front. Knight rebounded, counting 2 points for every car he passed, and finished sixth to clinch the championship.

Knight won the first two races this season: the Sinister Diesel Gene Welch Classic at All American Speedway and the NCRA/NSMS 60 at Lakeport Speedway. His third win came at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka. Collins was the winner of the Protect the Harvest Nor Cal 60 at Ukiah Speedway in July.

Finishing third overall was 2016 Rookie of the Year, Darrin Sullivan of Kelseyville. Sullivan had 2 North State victories in his second season with NSMS, the Memorial Day O'Reilly Nor-Cal 60 at Redwood Acres, and the Lloyd Burton Against the Wind Challenge at Shasta Speedway in Anderson.

Fourth place in points went to another Kelseyville driver, Eric Johnson. Johnson's best runs were a second at Lakeport and a third at Ukiah. His ten top-10 finishes and five top-5 finishes kept him high in the points standings all year.

Our top female competitor, Sierra Furia of Lakeport, improved at every event, driving to a fifth place finish in the final standings. Furia's best track seemed to be Redwood Acres Raceway where she placed third in May and fourth in September. She was credited with seven top-10 finishes.

Sixth through tenth overall went to Dustin DeRosier of Cloverdale, Jason Philpot of Sacramento, Richie Potts of Petaluma, Adrianna Strugnell of Kelseyville, and Cody Braund of Redding.

These top-10 and all the other 58 NSMS competitors will be honored at the 2017 North State Modified Series award banquet on January 27 at Granzella's in Williams.

Monday, October 16, 2017

NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine: Day 1 In The Books

NASCAR Drive for Diversity participants took a specialized version of the Wunderlich, designed
from a driver attribute standpoint, Monday at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona
(Photo Courtesy Jason Christley/NASCAR)

Via NASCAR PR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2017) –- Twelve drivers arrived in Florida, champing at the bit to get behind the wheel and show their talents at the 2017 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Honda Generators. But before they could put the cars in gear, they were put through a battery of tests designed to evaluate their off-track preparation and skills that will be equally invaluable to their dreams of moving up the NASCAR ladder.

The drivers were put through a series of stations at Bethune-Cookman University to evaluate their skills in different media settings as well as a physical training assessment.

"Driving a race car is a physical moment: You need upper-body strength, you need hand-eye coordination, but mainly you need muscle endurance," said Phil Horton, who oversees the physical training program with Rev Racing. "You drive a car for three and a half hours and there doesn't look like there are a lot of strenuous movements there. But you're holding a steering wheel all day. In order to have muscle endurance, you first need to have muscle strength."

Fans are seeing more drivers active on different areas outside of racing, whether it's Jimmie Johnson running triathlons or Dale Earnhardt Jr. posting recaps of his long weekend bike rides via the Relive app. That's trickled down to the younger drivers like Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who've incorporated cycling or Crossfit into their daily routines.

"The mental toughness of being in shape is important -- one of the things we're looking for is their work ethic," said Horton. "You need to get in the gym early in the morning. You need to do those situps, you need to do those pushups, you need to lift those weights. Not necessarily like athletes in other sports. But just do them on a consistent basis. Without that fitness part of it, you're doing something every day that's preparing you to be a driver."

Both the combine and the team will feature an enhanced focus on seat time to increase competition at the combine and on the track next season. Since 2010, Rev Racing has managed the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team. It's compiled 17 wins among six different drivers and produced national series race winners Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. Earlier this year, Rev Racing's Macy Causey became the first female driver in the 61-year history of South Boston Speedway to win a Late Model Stock Car feature.

Ernie Francis Jr. is second-generation driver who is getting his first taste of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine. A multi-time champion in Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli, the 19-year-old from south Florida is looking to make a good impression.

"It's something new for me; I come from a road-racing background," said Ernie Francis Jr. "I'm used to a lot of the media stuff with everything I've done in my career. But some of the NASCAR stuff they do, I'm not too used to right now.

"The physical assessment, I'm a pretty active driver and try to stay physically fit with some of the endurance races I do. I think I'll do all right here and we'll see how it goes tomorrow when I get on track."

In addition to their time with Horton, the drivers also participated in mock press conference panels as well as conducted one-on-one interviews with Bethune-Cookman's radio station, WRWS-LPFM 99.1. They also took a version of the Wunderlich, specifically designed from a driver attribute standpoint. The test will help with the overall evaluation of the drivers for selection. It will also be utilized to help Rev Racing determine the crew chief pairings for the 2018 season and overall team dynamic.

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitors are scheduled to test at New Smyrna Speedway on Tuesday in a Late Model Stock Car and Wednesday in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series car.

In addition to being sponsored by Honda Generators, the Combine received sponsorship support from partners AiM Tech, Bethune-Cookman, Five Star Race Car Bodies, M2 Promotions, Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach, and Sunoco.

From the 12 combine participants, four will be selected for the 2018 season. Three of those drivers will race full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, while also running full-time in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in a Late Model – totaling more than 30 races next season. In addition, the fourth driver will compete full-time in the Late Model program and serve as an alternate for the K&N Pro Series program.

In an expanded role for next year, Rev Racing will also select an additional four youth drivers at a future combine. Those drivers will participate in the organization’s expanded Legends and Bandelaros program next season. This past season, Rev Racing had two Legends cars in the Bojangles Summer Shootout. The team will also provide several driver development test sessions in its Late Model at Langley Speedway in Virginia and New Smyrna during the 2018 race season for prospective multicultural and female drivers.

2017 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine Drivers:
Driver Hometown Age
Chase Cabre Tampa, Fla. 20
Collin Cabre Tampa, Fla. 23
Macy Causey Seaford, Va. 16
Madeline Crane Meansville, Ga. 19
Ernie Francis Jr. Dania, Fla. 19
Ruben Garcia Mexico City, Mexico 21
McKenna Haase Carlisle, Iowa 20
Nicholas Sanchez Homestead, Fla. 16
Ryan Vargas La Mirada, Calif. 16
Fabian Welter Mexico City, Mexico 21
Armani Williams Grosse Point, Mich. 17
Brittney Zamora Kennewick, Wash. 18

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kris Price Wins NSMS Finale, Knight Bags Third Championship

Kris Price talks with NSMS flagman Johnny Miskill with the 51FIFTY girls. Price received a
Napa tool box for winning the Sinister Diesel October Classic (Photo Courtesy Carrie Lauenroth)

Via NSMS Media

October 14, 2017.. Roseville, CA ...... Kris Price of Sacramento was the big winner of the Sinister Diesel October Classic at All American Speedway in Roseville Saturday night during the 2017 grand finale of the North State Modified Series, presented by Protect the Harvest. Jason Philpot of Sacramento finished second with Charlie Collins of Upper Lake taking third place. Price also set fast time over the 24 car field earning the $100 Sunoco/Penney Racing Supply fast time award, and the Keyser Hard Charger Award.

Price inherited the lead on lap 31 of the 60 lap feature when Eric Price Jr tagged the back of race leader Darrin Knight's car hard enough to turn Knight around. But Knight rebounded to finish sixth to clinch the NSMS championship by only 10 points over Collins.

A six-car invert put Eric Price and Michael Mitchell starting in row one, Collins and Knight in row two, and Wes Miller and Kris Price in the third row. Eric Price and Mitchell ran side-by-side for seven laps before Price pulled ahead to take the lead. Knight and Kris Price ran third and fourth with Collins fifth and Miller sixth.

Mitchell looked to the outside of Price again opening the door for Knight to slip underneath. Once again Mitchell drove the high side next to Knight for four more laps before Knight secured second place on 16. The race was halted on lap 22 when Aaron Coonfield's car stalled on the track and had to be pushed to the pits.

Knight forged ahead on the restart with Kris Price swapping places with Mitchell for third. Jason Philpot was moving up, and at the Economy Heating & Air half-way marker it was Knight, Eric Price, Kris Price, Philpot, Mitchell, Collins, Eric Johnson, Miller, Dustin DeRosier, Terry Deal, Rich Lindgren, Darrin Sullivan, Sierra Furia, Dave Campbell, Nick Lyons, Richie Potts, Jake Andreotti, Coonfield, Rick Avila, Adrianna Strugnell, and Idaho driver Marc Newman.

Contact with Eric Price on lap 31 took Knight's hopes of a third season victory away and left Kris Price the new leader. Four rounds later Rich Lindgren spun Terry Deal, and under yellow Deal throttled into Lindgren so hard that Deal's car landed on top of the Lindgren car, ending both of their runs.

Kris Price continued to lead with Philpot, Mitchell, Collins, Johnson, Miller, DeRosier and Sullivan next in line. Collins dove under Mitchell for third on lap 44 as the leaders were weaving through lapped traffic. Miller took position away from Johnson on lap 48 as Knight was working his way back to the front. Knight drove by both Sullivan and DeRosier on lap 52 and set his sights on Johnson.

The last yellow flew on lap 54 when Newman spun in turn one. The final circuits saw Knight sneak by Johnson, and at the checkered flag it was Kris Price, Philpot, Collins, Mitchell, Miller, Knight, Johnson, DeRosier, Sullivan and Furia. Price was presented with a full-size Napa tool chest in the winner's circle, courtesy of Bill McAnally Racing. Knight was honored as the 2017 North State Modified champion in front of the capacity crowd.

Johnson won the Naake Suspension Award, the DJ Safety Certificate went to Furia, and Knight got the Racer Bling Award. Scribner Plastic jugs went to Coonfield and Andreotti.

The North State Modified Series is presented by: Protect the Harvest, Lucas Oil, Sinister Diesel, Ward Ranches, Penney Racing Supply, American Racer Tires, Naake Suspension, Sunoco Race Fuels, Five Star Bodies, Racer Bling, Keyser Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, DJ Safety, the Buckhorn Bar & Grill, Economy Heating & Air, and Mort Houston.

SUNOCO/PENNEY RACING SUPPLY TIME TRIALS: Kris Price (13.766), Wes Miller (13.834), Darrin Knight (13.848), Charlie Collins (13.866), Michael Mitchell (13.883), Eric Price Jr., (13.887), Rich Lindgren (13.907), Jason Philpot (13.928), Dustin DeRosier (13.932), Eric Johnson (13.985), Sierra Furia (13.990), Darrin Sullivan (14.202), Terry Deal (14.078), Aaron Coonfield (14.094), Nick Lyons (14.155), Adrianna Strugnell (14.280), Jake Andreotti (14.292), Richie Potts (14.320), Dave Campbell (14.341), Jim Badeker (14.376), Marc Newman (14.401), Rick Avila (14.593), Dale Didoha (14.627), Sal Lopez (14.652)

LUCAS OIL DASH FOR CASH: Aaron Coonfield, Jake Andreotti, Terry Deal, Nick Lyons, Dave Campbell, Jim Badeker

SINISTER DIESEL OCTOBER CLASSIC : Kris Price, Jason Philpot, Charlie Collins, Michael Mitchell, Wes Miller, Darrin Knight, Eric Johnson, Dustin DeRosier, Darrin Sullivan, Sierra Furia, Eric Price Jr., Jake Andreotti, Nick Lyons, Richie Potts, Dave Campbell, Aaron Coonfield, Adrianna Strugnell, Rick Avila, Marc Newman, Rich Lindgren, Terry Deal, Jim Badeker, Sal Lopez, Dale Didoha