NASCAR: Drive For Diversity class of ’15 announced; update on Daytona Rising

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As part of the lead-in for Brian France’s State of the Sport address today in Charlotte, NASCAR revealed a six-driver Class of 2015 for its Drive for Diversity program.

Devon Amos, Jay Beasley, Collin Cabre, Natalie Decker, Kenzie Ruston, and Dylan Smith will compete under the RevRacing banner in two NASCAR series.

Amos (Rio Rancho, N.M.; @DevonAmos) and Cabre (Thonotosossa, Fla.; @CollinCabre12) will both be making a jump this year to the K&N East, where they’ll join series veterans Beasley (Las Vegas; @JBEASLEYRACING) and Ruston (El Reno, Okla.; @KenzieRuston).

As for RevRacing’s All-American Series drivers, Decker (Eagle River, Wis.; @ndecker04) comes from the ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour and has also won feature events in late models. Smith (Randolph, Vt.; @DylanSmith34), an employee of reigning Sprint Cup champions Stewart-Haas Racing, comes to RevRacing after running his own late model last year.

“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,” NASCAR senior VP of racing operations Jim Cassidy said in a corresponding release. “We were impressed by the talent displayed at the Combine [in October of 2014], and are eager to help this group develop their strengths on and off the track.”

The Drive for Diversity program has had several of its graduates enter the national levels of the sport in recent times, including reigning Sprint Cup rookie of the year Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and incoming XFINITY Series drivers Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing) and Daniel Suarez (Joe Gibbs Racing).

Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood also gave an update on his track’s ongoing Daytona Rising renovation project. As part of that update, Chitwood mentioned that 40,000 of the track’s new grandstand seats will be on hand for next month’s Budweiser Speedweeks activity.

The $400 million project, which Chitwood said would transform the World Center of Racing to a “motorsports stadium,” is expected to be fully complete in 2016.

“We will give our fans something that they have never had before when they attend our events in February,” Chitwood said. “We’re so excited about this opportunity to kick off the NASCAR season with the biggest event, but also this re-transformation of all that is special about Daytona.”

Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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