NASCAR’s 11th annual Drive for Diversity (D4D) Combine kicks off today at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, where Michael Lira will compete in a field of 20 multicultural and female drivers for a chance to be named to the 2015 NASCAR D4D Class team. This could potentially earn Lira a spot on a team operating in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Some past graduates of the NASCAR D4D Combine who have gone on to have great success throughout the NASCAR ranks include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie sensation Kyle Larson, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Darrell Wallace Jr. and NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series driver Daniel Suarez. Lira hopes to follow in their footsteps on his own journey toward racing stardom.
“The Drive for Diversity Combine has really established itself in recent years as a magnet for top talent,” Lira said. “I’m sure that I’ll be going up against some talented drivers over the next few days, but I’m thrilled to be a part of such a great program and I feel very confident in my own abilities as a driver. My plan is to stay relaxed and let my instincts take over out on the track.”
Lira currently does the majority of his professional racing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Driving for Kimmel Racing, Lira has put together in impressive rookie campaign this season, earning several top-10 results and finishing ninth in his superspeedway debut at Pocono Raceway. At seventeen years old, Lira is among the youngest competitors at the D4D Combine.
Over the next three days, Lira will be judged by talent evaluators and team owners on his abilities as a driver. The participants at the D4D Combine will be evaluated on a wide range of criteria, such as speed and positioning on the track, the ability the communicate feedback from the car to the crew chief and the ability to shift during assessments.
Lira, who is of Peruvian descent, will be joined by drivers from not only the United States, but Canada and Latin America as well. Under the leadership of Rev Racing owner Max Siegel, the D4D Combine has evolved into an academy-style development program, and the success of its graduates speaks volumes about the importance of diversity in the racing world.
“This year’s Combine applicant pool was among the strongest the program has seen, and we continue to see that year over year,” said Siegel. “The program’s visibility and reputation for developing young, female and diverse drivers with talent and growth potential has increased across the board, and we are seeing steady recognition and support from key stakeholders across the motorsports industry.”
For a live streaming schedule of the Combine, visit FansChoice.tv.