Former Norfolk State University basketball player Brehanna Daniels and football player Lamar Neal are among nine former college student-athletes selected to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Crew Member Development Program, NASCAR and Rev Racing announced. The new class of participants received invitations to train with Rev Racing following standout performances at the first national D4D pit crew combine in May. Daniels, Neal and the other seven multicultural athletes who starred in football, basketball and softball at the college level will receive expert training as tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with the goal of gaining fulltime employment with NASCAR national series race teams.
“We’ve assembled a very talented group of athletes who we believe has what it takes to excel on pit road in NASCAR,” said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. “Each D4D participant will benefit from Rev Racing’s best-in-class training program, and we look forward to watching them grow and develop over the next 12 months.”
This year NASCAR and Rev Racing revamped the crew member scouting process, hosting tryouts at six universities across the country. Norfolk State’s combine was held in early April, with Daniels, Neal and football player Quinta Funderburk earning invitations to May’s national combine in Concord, North Carolina.
“We are very excited for the arrival of the new 2016 Drive for Diversity pit crew recruits,” said Max Siegel, owner and CEO of Rev Racing. “With the national combine and recruitment effort this past year, we were able to select the top level of athletic talent. We look forward to training these individuals and placing them along pit road in the national series. Our academy-style approach to training continues to show success year after year; this class will not fall short.”
Daniels played two years of basketball for the Spartans. The guard from Virginia Beach averaged 4.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game as a senior in 2015-16. Neal spent four years as a linebacker in the NSU football program. The Virginia Beach native’s best season came in 2014, when he was fourth on the team with 85 tackles. Aside from Daniels and Neal, the other seven D4D participants include former Kansas football players Kapil Fletcher, Tedarian Johnson and Corey King; Appalachian State football player Jeremy Kimbrough; Clark Atlanta football players Jordan Paige and Joshua Tate; and Alcorn State softball player Breanna O’Leary.
There are 35 graduates of the D4D Crew Member Development Program currently working in NASCAR. Three alums – Raphael Diaz, Kevin Richardson and Richie Williams – celebrated in Victory Lane as members of Chris Buescher’s pit crew after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver won his first premier series race at Pocono Raceway last month.
Last November, Diaz and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Mike Russell became the first D4D graduates to win a national series championship when Buescher clinched the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, under the leadership of Rev Racing, supports both crew member and driver development opportunities. Driver graduates include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr.
For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit www.NASCARDiversity.com.