Update (5/5/19): Blake Lothian is officially in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development and Training program and is racing for the Rev Racing team in the INEX Legends Series this summer in Charlotte. Congrats to Blake.
It’s been a couple of years since we’ve caught up with Wellesley go-kart driver Blake Lothian, and it turns out the Wellesley High 10th grader has only become more immersed in his sport.
He was one of eight drivers selected through a nationwide search to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program, a 2-day combine event held in North Carolina this past weekend for drivers ages 12-16. The combine will determine the 2019 youth driver line-up for Rev Racing. Four drivers will be chosen, and they’ll be supplied with a Legends Race Car and a NASCAR coach, and will live and train during the summer in Charlotte. They’ll take part in the Legends INEX Bojangles Summer Shootout and it could pave the way for entering the adult driver development program and eventually, the NASCAR cup series.
“That’s what current NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace did,” Lothian says.
Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR director of racing operations and event management, said in a statement: “We look forward to seeing members of this group rise up the ranks within Rev Racing and one day showcase their talent at the NASCAR touring series level.”
Lothian, fresh from returning from the event, told us that there were a wide variety of drivers in the program including karting, Legends and Sprint.
“There are many ways to get to NASCAR,” the 16-year-old says. “Many of today’s drivers started in karts.”
Drivers were evaluated in simulators, on an outdoor track, and in their interactions with the media, sponsors and race crew, says Lothian, who had never traveled beyond New England to race before. The last two years he has raced high performance go karts in adult leagues with the in New Hampshire at NH Motor Speedway and Canaan Speedway, and you can read more about his accomplishments on his BlakeLothianRacing website.
A key element to the Drive for Diversity program, as the name suggests, is encouraging minority drivers to pursue the sport. Lothian says there’s been steady growth in diversity in NASCAR thanks to programs like this. “In my own karting experience we have also seen some increases in diversity, but there is always room for more growth,” Lothian says. “In all my karting seasons I have always raced with between one and three other minority drivers in my kart class.”