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Three NASCAR Drive for Diversity Graduates Score Daytona ARCA Win
- Updated: February 19, 2017
By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series opener at Daytona International Speedway wasn’t solely a story of vindication for Austin Theriault – it was also a triumphant moment for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity (D4D) program.
Kapil Fletcher, Jeremy Kimbrough and Phil Thomas — all graduates of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program — were each credited with their first victories at Daytona as part of Theriault’s Ken Schrader Racing pit crew in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire, scoring the latest in a string of victorious moments for the program’s graduates.
For Fletcher and Kimbrough, both former college football standouts at Appalachian State University and Kansas University, respectively, the victory came in their first race as crewmen.
NASCAR’s D4D program is known best for fostering the growth of minority drivers in the sport. Defending XFINITY Series champion Daniel Suarez, 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff participant Kyle Larson and Camping World Truck Series winner Darrell Wallace, Jr., are all former members of the program.
However, the Drive for Diversity also contains a program for crew member development that is “designed to identify, coach, train and develop minority athletes who possess the skill, ability and attitude to be a successful pit crew member in one of the three NASCAR national series,” per the program’s web page.
Led by K&N Pro Series and Whelen All-American Series team Rev Racing, the D4D program accepts applicants the show strength and dedication, offering training for various over-the-wall pit crew positions including tire changers and carriers, fuelers and jackmen.
Weight training, agility and footwork programs are also offered to help future graduates improve their strength and dexterity.
Rev Racing held their first National Pit Crew Combine at Concord, North Carolina, in May 2016, inviting 12 men and six women from 12 states and one U.S. territory after hosting six tryouts at universities. Fletcher and Kimbrough were among the top half of performers in the combine invited to join the D4D program.