As the 33rd annual Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off Monday, NASCAR announced the 2015 Drive for Diversity roster.
Since its inception, NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program has worked to help women and minority drivers break into the upper echelon of the sport by providing them with solid equipment, valuable track time and coaching both on and off the track.
Graduates of the program include 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year and 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Kyle Larson, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Daniel Suarez.
"Taking steps to find and develop young female and multicultural athletes who could represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization's mission," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We were impressed by the talent displayed at the Combine (in October 2014), and are eager to help this group develop their strengths on and off the track."
The roster consists of six young drivers, four of whom are new to the Drive for Diversity program for the 2015 season.
|NASCAR diversity driver Kenzie Ruston is entering her third season in the NASCAR|
K&N Pro Series East. (Todd Warshaw / Getty Images)
The 2015 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class includes:
- Devon Amos: Returning to the team, the 23-year-old Rio Rancho, N.M., native will make the jump to the K&N Pro Series East after two full seasons in the Whelen All-American Series.
- Jay Beasley: Finishing 13th overall and sixth in a loaded Sunoco Rookie of the Year field in the K&N Pro Series East last season, the 23-year-old from Las Vegas, Nev., will return for a second season, aiming to best his rookie campaign.
- Collin Cabre: After an impressive NASCAR D4D Combine performance, the 21-year-old Thonotosassa, Fla., native will compete in the K&N Pro Series East in his first year with Rev Racing. Cabre has spent the past five years racing asphalt and dirt sprint cars.
- Natalie Decker: A 17-year-old newcomer to the Rev Racing roster from Eagle River, Wis., Decker collected feature wins in a Limited Late Model and Super Late Model, as well as earning Rookie and Sportsman of the Year honors in ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour. She will compete in the Whelen All-American Series in 2015.
- Kenzie Ruston: Entering her third season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and first with Rev Racing, the 22-year-old El Reno, Okla., native is also a member of NASCAR Next, an industry initiative to identify tomorrow's stars. Ruston broke her own record in 2014 as the highest finishing female driver in the K&N Pro Series East with a runner-up finish at Iowa Speedway on her way to finishing ninth in points.
- Dylan Smith: The 22-year-old from Randolph, Vt., earned a spot with Rev Racing in the Whelen All-American Series after competing in his own Late Model last year. The Stewart-Haas Racing employee ran 15 races and finished 38th in the Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings.
As part of the Drive for Diversity program, Max Siegel's Rev Racing will field four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams and two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series cars.
"This year's class is already hard at work preparing for the upcoming season," said Siegel. "In addition to their required physical training, shop work and professional development, we have added several new elements to what we feel is the premiere driver development program in the sport.
"Rev Racing is very proud to have played a significant part in the development of National series drivers and D4D graduates Darrell Wallace Jr., Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez," he added. "They have paved the way and set a high standard of excellence for our current class to strive for."
The Drive for Diversity program is not just limited to those behind the wheel, however. Through it's diversity efforts, NASCAR also has a pit crew development program for women and multicultural athletes.
In 2014, more than 30 graduates of the program worked on full-time pit crews with organizations that included Roush Fenway Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.