By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After making history during the ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona International Speedway, Devon Rouse will finally make his NASCAR debut at Knoxville Raceway.
At Daytona earlier this year, Rouse became the first openly LGBTQ driver to test an ARCA car at Daytona. He participated in the test with Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing team.
Rouse also tested a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series vehicle with Reaume Brothers Racing at an open test in 2020 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. The initial plan was for the Burlington, IA native to make his debut at Eldora Speedway last year. However, that race was realigned due to COVID-19.
Initial 2021 plans had Rouse scheduled to make his Truck Series debut at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track race. Sponsorship issues forced that to be delayed to Knoxville on July 9. With the help of Marcus Lemonis, the 22-year-old will attempt his debut in the Corn Belt 150 presented by Premier Chevy Dealers at Knoxville.
“We were going to have Devon run Eldora for us last year, but with Covid and Eldora being taken off the schedule, we had to go back to the drawing board,” explained Reaume. “Knoxville is a perfect place for Devon to be able to debut, and it makes it even more special that it is a home track for him.
“I pride myself in believing that I have the most diverse team in any of NASCAR’s top series, and Devon not only adds to that, but also becomes a part of our family here at Reaume Brothers Racing. Furthermore, we cannot thank Marcus Lemonis enough for his support of this effort and many others this year. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunities he has given drivers.”
Rouse is a regular competitor on dirt in Modified Lites, Sprint Cars, and more. He competes regularly at 34 Raceway. After testing in ARCA earlier this year, he competed in the World of Outlaws.
The dirt track racer joins a list of 12 drivers that have already competed for Reaume this year. That list includes Akinori Ogata, Myatt Snider, Ryan Ellis, and U.S. Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Iwuji.
“I’m looking very forward to running with RBR in making my Camping World Truck Series debut,” admitted Rouse. “I tested with them back in the beginning of 2020 and the second I stepped into the pits I felt welcome, even before coming out. I think RBR works amazingly with the diversification that we are now seeing in Motorsports. See everyone in Knoxville!”
The Truck Series race at Knoxville will feature heat racing. Bristol was scheduled to have heat racing before rain caused poor track conditions. Rouse will have to race his way into the field at Knoxville.
Should Rouse qualify for the 40-truck field at Knoxville, he will become just the second openly LGBTQ driver to compete in NASCAR. Stephen Rhodes was the first in 2003 when he made two Truck Series starts.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Reaume Brothers Racing