If there’s one thing that each and every race car driver has when growing up, it’s a dream.
They dream about success in NASCAR or other forms of motorsports, of becoming a star and having a career where they can compete against the best of the best.
For 20 multicultural and female drivers, that dream starts to become reality in the 11th annual Drive For Diversity Combine, which takes place Monday through Wednesday for the fourth consecutive year at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.
MORE: NASCAR set for October’s Drive for Diversity Combine
The nearly two dozen drivers will show talent evaluators, team owners and others what they’re made of and the kind of stuff they have behind the wheel.
Those that perform the best in the three-day tryout of sorts could potentially earn a big prize of a spot on the 2015 NASCAR D4D Class team, which would potentially place them with teams operating in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
NASCAR has partnered for the last 11 years with Rev Racing, owned by former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president and current U.S. Track & Field CEO Max Siegel, to develop young drivers through the D4D program who may go on to become the next Kyle Larson (Sprint Cup rookie), Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. (Camping World Truck Series star), and Daniel Suarez (NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series driver), all past graduates of the D4D combine and program.
This year’s class of drivers in the Combine hail not only from the U.S., but also Canada and Latin America.
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In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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