Blake Lothian is about to get the opportunity of a lifetime.
The 16-year-old Wellesley, Mass., native is one of four drivers recently named to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program. Lothian, a World Formula Kart driver, was selected after NASCAR and Rev Racing hosted a youth driver combine at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C., in March.
NASCAR revealed the roster in press release Wednesday.
Lothian will be joined by 16-year-old iRacing competitor Rajah Caruth, 12-year-old dirt oval flat kart driver Lacy Kuehl and 14-year-old U.S. Legends car driver Isabella Robusto, who trained with the youth development program in 2017 and 2018.
The four talented drivers will be trained by the youth program and given competitive experience by Rev Racing, the competition arm of Drive for Diversity which will put the drivers in INEX Legends Cars this year. Lothian, Caruth, Kuehl and Robusto will compete in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway in June and July, and several other events throughout the summer.
“We were very impressed with what we saw from these drivers at the combine in March,” Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR’s director of racing operations and event management said in a statement. “Each driver demonstrated strong potential and we believe will be successful in racing. The four selected stood out based on their abilities both on and off the track, have great experience and left quite the positive impression on our evaluators.”
Each driver will be given the opportunity to hone their skills and earn a place in one of NASCAR’s regional series, such as the Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro Series. The ultimate goal, of course, is to make it to one of the national series.
“We have really taken an in-depth look at how we develop and train our drivers at the youth level,” Rev Racing CEO Max Siegel said. “We’ve seen the program grow over the last 10 years and make a substantial impact in NASCAR. The level of talent and enthusiasm we are already seeing in these young individuals is both promising and exciting.
“Connecting with drivers as early as possible allows us to have a greater impact on driver development on and off the race track. Our goal is to see these drivers move through the pipeline and into the national series.”
Whether any of the four drivers makes it to the top of the NASCAR remains to be seen. But if you’re an aspiring young racer, it’s hard to imagine a better starting point than where Lothian, Caruth, Kuehl and Robusto will begin their careers.
The youth development program has many notable graduates, including Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series drivers Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. Also among the program’s graduates is 17-year-old Hailie Deegan, who last year became the first female driver to win a K&N Pro Series race.
Thumbnail photo via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images