Jairo Avila, who competes as J.A. Junior at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and former Bullring driver Juan Garcia have been selected as part of NASCAR's six-member 2016 Drive for Diversity® (D4D) class.
Avila and Garcia follow two-time D4D selection Jay Beasley as Bullring competitors chosen for the prestigious program and will compete for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. A three-time race winner at The Bullring, Avila won the Legends-Pro division title in 2013.
Kayli Barker, the winningest female driver at The Bullring, and former drivers Mariah McGriff, Hannah Newhouse and Vanessa Robinson also took part in a 22-driver D4D combine at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19-21, but were not selected.
This year's class will attempt to follow in the footsteps of D4D graduates and current NASCAR national series drivers Kyle Larson, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suárez. The 2016 class was formally introduced to the industry as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour on Jan. 19.
"NASCAR remains steadfast in its mission to develop multicultural and female athletes and we believe this class has the potential to compete at the highest levels of our sport," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "The talent pool from which these drivers were selected was unprecedented for NASCAR Drive for Diversity - a testament to the program's growth and success."
Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2016 class is led by returning driver Collin Cabre and newcomer Rubén Garcia Jr., fresh off his NASCAR Mexico Series championship last fall.
The 2016 D4D roster includes:
Collin Cabre: After an impressive first year with D4D in which he won the season finale at Dover International Speedway and finished in the top 10, the 22-year-old from Tampa will again compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Rubén Garcia Jr.: At age 20, the Mexico City native won four races in the NASCAR Mexico Series en route to his first NASCAR championship. He brings his talents to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for his rookie season with Rev Racing.
Jairo Avila: The 20-year-old Colombian-American from Alhambra, Calif., made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut in 2014 and achieved four top-10 finishes in five starts with his family-run team. He will compete in the K&N Pro Series East.
Ali Kern: The 22-year-old from Fremont, Ohio, had her best NASCAR D4D Combine last year after turning in strong performances in previous combine events. A second-place finisher in the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Kern will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Enrique Baca: Following an impressive showing at the Combine, Baca, 24, will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Baca is from Monterrey, Mexico, and competed in his native country's Super Copa Telcel series in 2015.
Juan Garcia: Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Garcia, 18, earned the 2015 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award for his competitiveness in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He will return to the series with Rev Racing following a strong performance at the Combine last fall.
Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, NASCAR D4D aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series.
"This year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity class is so talented. We are excited to get the season started, to develop and showcase the drivers' abilities to our fans and partners," Siegel said. "Our ultimate goal is to prepare these minority and female drivers for the national series. Every year presents new opportunities for growth and we look forward to carrying over last season's momentum into 2016."
Since it began fielding D4D cars in 2010, Rev Racing has been the most consistent team in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, registering 17 total wins with six different drivers and at least one victory in each season. The 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener will take place on Feb. 14 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where Rev Racing scored a win with Suárez in 2014.
The 2015 NASCAR season featured a series of firsts and milestones for D4D alumni. Suárez and Wallace Jr. were in close contention to win Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, with Suárez becoming the first Mexican driver to earn top rookie honors.
In 2015, more than 25 graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program, also run by Rev Racing, pitted for national series teams. Mike Russell, jackman for the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, became the first African-American D4D graduate to win a national series championship.
For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit www.NASCARDiversity.com.
About Rev Racing
Headquartered in Concord, N.C., Rev Racing, owned by Max Siegel, operates the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, which is the industry's leading developmental program for ethnic minorities and women drivers, and crew members. For more information about Rev Racing visit http://revracing.net or follow us on Twitter @RevRacin.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR at www.Facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.