Eight young drivers, ranging in age from 12-17 years old from across the United States, competed for one of four open slots on NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Development Team, which develops drivers for NASCAR’s professional racing series. Among those invited to the combine is 16-year-old D.C. native, Rajah Caruth.
“The mission of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program is to identify young diverse and talented drivers and provide a path for their development, with the goal of being identified as a prospect by NASCAR’s national series teams, sponsors and manufacturers,” said Jusan Hamilton, director of racing operations and event management at NASCAR.
Caruth, a junior at The School Without Walls in Washington DC, said he has had an interest in NASCAR and an ambition to drive race cars for years. He said he was first inspired by watching the Disney Pixar film, Cars. “I hear that a lot from young drivers,” said NASCAR’s Hamilton.
The race wins that propelled Caruth to this point, and noticed by NASCAR, have all been on virtual tracks.
This is a separate league of racing that functions just like a real racing series, with points standings, playoffs and championships. Drivers compete on replicas of actual NASCAR race tracks.
Some of Caruth’s most notable accomplishments include 20 official iRacing wins and 157 top 5’s in 359 starts between June and October of 2018. He is currently raising money to race legend cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I’m honored to have been chosen to compete in the youth combine, and excited to represent Washington, D.C. at the event,” said Caruth. “I’ve been working for years to get to this point, and can’t wait to test my skills and go head-to-head with the other participants. I’m going to give it my all and make D.C. proud.”
According to Hamilton, Caruth gave an impressive showing at the two-day combine event: “Each of the drivers we saw yesterday showed the ability to be developed and grow and have success in racing. Every driver improved each time they went out on the track and competed every step of the way. As we meet to decide the final group, we will have some tough decisions ahead.”
The announcement of the four slots on NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Development Team is scheduled for mid-April.