NASCAR Unveils Lineup for 2021 Drive for Diversity Program

Published 02/04/2021, 10:56 AM EST
Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin (11), Joey Logano (22) and Kyle Busch (18) battle for the lead during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2004, NASCAR established the Drive for Diversity program. While the sport used to be a predominantly white-dominated affair, there have been efforts to promote diversity. Now, in 2021, the sport has nominated 8 drivers in this development program.

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Out of the 8, at least 2 will enter the ARCA competition. One of them, Nick Sanchez, will run full time in the ARCA Menards Series. Additionally, iRacing driver Rajah Caruth will run in the ARCA Menards Series East. What’s more, he will be seen pulling double duty, namely in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.

As it turns out, a NASCAR panel evaluated every candidate on the basis of various factors. These involved analyzing applications, references, historical success, and on-track performances. Once they do this, the potential drivers then set out to prove their mettle on the racetrack.

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How does this system work in NASCAR?

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Following a 2-day test with an on-track assessment, the D4D program makes its decision. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020. It is also worth mentioning that notable graduates include Bubba WallaceDaniel Suarez, and Kyle Larson.

BROOKLYN, MI – JUNE 18: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cars 3/Target Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Coming back to the 2021 D4D program, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth headline the candidates. Others include Isabella Robusto, Lavar Scott, Regina Sirvent, Justin Campbell, Andres Perez de Lara, and Jaiden Reyna. All 8 drivers hail from different fields and will eventually branch out to different forms of racing.

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Who knows, there may soon come a time when the next bunch of NASCAR superstars emerge from this program. The question is, who will be the next Larson or Wallace or Suarez?

This program has been incredibly effective, and it has done its best to stay true to its objectives. Even the likes of Gracie Trotter have been able to make their way up the ranks through this program.

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Dhruv George

13398 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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