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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR celebrated a defining year for the industry’s multicultural progress with the 8th annual NASCAR Diversity Awards today at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR and industry leaders gathered to recognize people and organizations within the industry whose dedication to diversity is indicative of the evolving face of motorsports and emphasizes the importance of inclusion.
“Through a wide range of programs, we continue to strengthen our relationships with stakeholders by increasing minority and female participation at every level of the sport,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “From the competitors on the track to our employee base to the fans who so passionately follow the sport, NASCAR is increasingly reflective of multiculturalism here and abroad.”
“We are proud of our accomplishments, but even more excited about the future,” Cassidy added.
Recognized for their outstanding achievements were:
• Aric Amirola received the NASCAR Ignition Award, given to a minority or female NASCAR national seriesdriver that demonstrates leadership both on and off the race track while making contributionsto the advancement of the sport. A Florida native of Cuban descent, Almirola he won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2014 at Daytona International Speedway driving for Richard Petty Motorsports and became the first Hispanic-American driver to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Off the track, Almirola is a diversity ambassador and regularly participates in initiatives and events to broaden the NASCAR fan base.
• Chloe Kerr received the NASCAR Diversity Internship Participant Award, which goes to the student who has exhibited outstanding performance and leadership skills in academics as well as during their internship in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. Kerr is a graduate student at Georgetown University pursuing a degree in corporate communications, Kerr displayed the utmost professionalism and immediately made an impact in the Integrated Marketing Communications department.
• Haley Moody was given the NASCAR Diverse Driver Award, given to a minority or woman NASCAR developmental driver that exemplifies outstanding performance both on and off the race track in encouragin awareness and interaction with NASCAR and motorsports. Moody became the first female to win a Limited Late Model championship in North Carolina with her championship at Southern National Motorsports Park in 2014. She also became the first female to win at Myrtle Beach Speedway, which was also last race her father attended before passing due to cancer. She has been a role model to young girls at track, and takes time to meet with fans before races.
• Jack & Jill of America, Inc. was presented the NASCAR Institution Award, which goes to a company that demonstrates a commitmentto NASCAR diversity and inclusion goals throughtheir program support and engagement with NASCAR. Jack & Jill has lent support to various NASCAR diversity initiatives. At its 2014 National convention, with support from the NASCAR Foundation, the Teen Summit incorporated NASCAR’s STEM platform and featured Drive for Diversity participants. This was followed up with a track immersion experiences for multicultural groups at Charlotte Motor Speedway with plans to replicate at other chapters nationally.
• Enrique Lemon was awarded the Young Racer Award, presented to a minority or female youth between the ages of 8-15 years old that has partaken in some form of competitive racing and has overcome adversity in pursuit of his or her dream of participating in the motorsports industry. Limon, a 16-year old Mexico City native, is the first graduate of Rev Racing Driver Academy and two-year participant in Drive for Diversity program. In 2014, he competed in the Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he placed eighth among a field that included national series drivers. His natural talent and impressive results have again earned him a spot on the Rev Racing team for 2015.
• Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., received the NASCAR Partner Award, given to a company that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity goals through their program support and engagement. Langley has been a staunch supporter of the Drive for Diversity program with numerous efforts and has played host to the Combine for several years. In addition, it has generated ongoing awareness of Rev Racing and other diversity efforts through local weekly radio broadcasts and promotions.
• Richard Williams was presented the NASCAR Diverse Crew Member Award. The award goes to a minority or woman crew member that inspires awareness of NASCAR through competitive performance and outreach activities. Williams is an integral part of Roush-Fenway Racing and standout graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program. He has become an advocate for diversity in the sport and reguarly meets with groups and fans at tracks.
• Greg Fresquez was recognized with the Industry Ambassador Award. Representative who displays a personal effort to incorporate multicultural initiatives as part of his or her job. Fresquez has made a major impact in increasing the level of awareness and affinity for NASCAR within the Hispanic community in Phoenix. Fresquez has traveled to Mexico on behalf of Phoenix International Raceway and has developed excellent relationships with several drivers and race teams on both sides of the border.
The NASCAR national series season gets underway tonight with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ Alert Today Florida 300 Saturday, leading into Sunday’s 57th running of the Daytona 500. The flag the Great American Race, begins at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, live on FOX, Motor Racing Network Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Tickets for the Daytona 500 are available online at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can follow @NASCAR on Twitter to engage in the #NASCAR conversation.