The program, which is NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative, currently has eight drivers competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Although the season is only at the midway point, the drivers have combined for eight victories.
"The success of the program can really be attributed to the dedication and involvement of the owners and sponsors," said NASCAR Director of Diversity Tish Sheets. "The hard work of all of the teams involved, including Joe Gibbs Racing and MB2 Motorsports, has gone a long way in building the program to where it is today. Also, the support of sponsors Kodak, Waste Management, Sunoco, Checkers/Rally’s, Levi Strauss Signature, Domino’s and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service has given these drivers the opportunity to showcase their talent."
The eight drivers represent a variety of racing and ethnic backgrounds. Each driver touts an impressive on-track resume that includes several national and track championships. Many of them have already received national attention for historic wins. Chris Bristol’s win at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last season made him the first African-American driver to win in the track’s 55-year history. Jesus Hernandez followed Bristol’s lead this year becoming the first Hispanic driver to win at the track. Peter Hernandez has visited victory lane twice this year at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. Allison Duncan made history at that track last season becoming the first female driver to win at the track. It was also the first win for the Drive for Diversity® program.
Although all eight of the current drivers have experienced success on the track, the most impressive driver of this season has been Marc Davis. Davis, a 16-year-old from Mitchellville, Md., has won five Limited Late Model races at Hickory in just 11 starts. Since turning 16, he has competed in three NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model races, earning two top-10 finishes. He finished second to Jesus Hernandez in his second career NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series start.
"All eight of these drivers have impressed their peers in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series," said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. "Week-in and week-out they are competing against the top competitors at the toughest short tracks in North America. The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series has been the starting point for many of the sport’s biggest stars. With continued success, the Drive for Diversity® drivers have the potential to ascend up the NASCAR ladder system into one of the three national series."
"Our goal is to create a steady pipeline of talented drivers and crew members," said Greg Calhoun, owner of Access Marketing & Communications. "Every driver who has come through the program has had an outstanding racing background. We are proud that our previous drivers have advanced their racing careers through the program and the current class is proving they deserve to do the same."
NASCAR will spotlight teams, tracks, sponsors and partners throughout the year for significant contributions and achievement in diversity.
NASCAR will also be highlighting diverse drivers currently competing throughout the different levels of the sport.