DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After thorough evaluation of athletes from universities across the country, NASCAR and Rev Racing have chosen seven participants to join the 2019-20 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program.
The former collegiate athletes were selected based on a fitness assessment held in May at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. The assessment tested their agility, strength and flexibility, followed by the participants learning the different crew member positions during a pit stop simulation.
Those selected will relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a six-month pit crew training program led by Phil Horton, Rev Racing’s director of athletic performance. They will train to become tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with hopes of one day earning a spot on a national series race team.
NASCAR Drive for Diversity provides opportunities for women and minorities to pursue career opportunities in NASCAR on pit crews, in the driver’s seat through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program and off the track through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.
"We are inspired by the level of athletes we’re seeing enter the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program," said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR’s director of racing operations and event management. "With a wider range of colleges and universities partnering with NASCAR and Rev Racing on this program, the talent pool continues to expand and so does the pathway for each of the new members to achieve success with top race teams."
Dalanda Ouendeno is among this year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program participants. Ouendeno was a standout defender on the University of Miami women’s soccer team before trying out for a pit crew development role with Rev Racing.
Virginia natives Hadji Gaylord and Raynard Revels will also join the 2019-20 class after competing together as teammates on Norfolk State University’s football team.
"We look forward to welcoming this year’s class to NASCAR’s most comprehensive pit crew training and development program," Rev Racing CEO Max Siegel said. "We couldn’t be prouder of the journey both our pit crew development program and graduates have taken from its inception. With the expansion of our recruiting efforts across the country, the talent level rises, and our program continues to evolve and create more opportunities for advancement at a higher level."
In July 2019, NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program graduates Rojelio Ramirez, Omar Grimaldo and current program member Michael Hayden celebrated their first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win when driver Justin Haley took the checkered flag at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Through the years, the program has developed pit crew athletes who work on teams every race weekend. Since its inception, more than 100 athletes have participated in the program and more than 65 graduates have worked in the sport on the national level. More than 50 graduates are currently pitting on a national level and more than 30 are competing in the sport’s top series.
The 2019-20 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program participants include:
|Hadji Gaylord||Norfolk, Va.||Norfolk State University||Football (Defensive End)|
|Robin Loza||Charlotte, N.C.||Central Piedmont Community College||Football (Wide Receiver)|
|Maurice McKinnon||Charlotte, N.C.||Guilford College||Football (Wide Receiver)|
|Dalanda Ouendeno||Paris, France||University of Miami||Soccer (Defender)|
|Mequel Phillips||Chester, Va.||Virginia State University||Football (Linebacker)|
|Raynard Revels||Richmond, Va.||Norfolk State University||Football (Linebacker)|
|Alvin Wilson||Lexington, Miss.||Alcorn State University||Football (Linebacker)|