Before the drivers slide into the cockpit of a Late Model stock car for the on-track portion of the combine on Wednesday and Thursday at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., evaluations began for the 17 candidates hoping to land a spot with Rev Racing. The group competed on driving simulators for iRacing, which added the .4-mile Langley oval to its system this year. The track is a member of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
“We added the iRacing this year because we feel it gives us a chance to get used to the track and get a feel for the cars before they actually get behind the wheel,” said Derik Crotts, general manager of Rev Racing. “And it gives us a chance to see how the drivers respond to different settings on that track.”
In addition, the drivers also participated in a fitness evaluation led by Rev Racing’s strength and conditioning coach, Phil Horton.
“Fitness is becoming increasingly important in racing,” said Horton. “You want to be strong and you want to be in shape – especially the upper-body. Late in the race, if you’re out of shape, you’re just trying to survive until the end of the race and you’re not concentrating as well. Drivers that are in shape are concentrating on the things they need to do to go to Victory Lane instead of feeling tired and being tired.”
Created in 2004, the NASCAR D4D program is now overseen by Rev Racing in its third season on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Current D4D competitors Kyle Larson and Bryan Ortiz are the top two rookies in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, and Larson and Rev Racing graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. both made their NASCAR national series debuts this season. Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series pole, while Larson has been impressive in several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
“I’m really excited about this year, with all this young talent and knowing that these individuals are going to be the next stars of NASCAR,” Crotts said.
Earlier in the day, Ryan Gifford, Jorge Arteaga and Bryan Ortiz joined Langley owner Bill Mullis, Late Model champion Greg Edwards and Hampton city officials in a commemorative tree-planting at the Peninsula YMCA as part of NASCAR’s Green initiative. Langley will help plant approximately 100 trees throughout the city, including new parks and areas recovering from a recent tornado.
The 2013 Rev Racing team will be selected from among the 2012 Rev Racing drivers and the Combine participants, including Devon Amos of Rio Ranch, N.M.; Dustin Ash of Las Vegas; Annabeth Barnes of Hiddenite, N.C.; Collin Cabre of Thonotosassa, Fla.; Kayla Cazares of Goffstown, N.H.; Amber Colvin of Mooresville, N.C.; Jessica Dana of Olympia, Wash.; Paige Decker of Eagle River, Wis.; Cassie Gannis of Phoenix, Ariz.; Lindsay Katz of Kalmazoo, Mich.; Jack Madrid of San Clemente, Calif.; Kate McCall of Port Orange, Fla.; Dallas Montes of Bakersfield, Calif.; Hannah Newhouse of Twin Falls, Idaho; Dylan Smith of Randolph, Vt.; Daniel Suarez of Monterrey, Mexico and Eric Thiering of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada.