On 17 October, NASCAR announced that 10 drivers have been chosen to take part in the 2019 edition of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Combine event at New Smyrna Speedway this weekend. One of them is Loris Hezemans, who earlier in the month was crowned as the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion.
“I am extremely thankful and honored to be chosen to take part in the 2019 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine! Thank you Rev Racing for this great opportunity and looking forward to take on this challenge from 22-24 October,” said Hezemans on Facebook.
Hezemans and 9 other drivers will be taking part in a two-day evaluation event where judges from across the NASCAR industry will judge each participant on their on-track performance, physical fitness, media, and marketing skills. They are also going to compete for spots to drive with Rev Racing in the Late Model Stock category of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, ARCA Menards Series East (previously K&N Pro Series East), and the newly-established ARCA Menards Showdown Series for the 2020 season.
“We are thrilled with the caliber of diverse drivers planning to compete in this year’s combine,” said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR’s Director of Racing Operations and Event Management to nascar.com. “The driver selection process for the 2020 class was highly competitive, as we had several talented applicants from across the United States and abroad – and that advanced level of competition boosts our confidence in the ladder system we have in place with our partners at Rev Racing, which will be effective for many years to come.”
Hezemans had previously competed at New Smyrna for the 2019 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February earlier this year. Driving for Mike Skinner’s team ATF & Gunslinger in the Pro Late Model category, Hezemans impressed in his United States racing debut as he scored three Top-5 and six Top-10 finishes to finish in third in the Pro Late Model standings.
Later in the year, Hezemans would score his first oval victory when he won the NASCAR GP of Netherlands at the half-mile Raceway Venray before he earned the opportunity to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Road America. Driving for B. J. McLeod Motorsports in the No. 99 Camaro, Hezemans again impressed as he had the pace to compete in the Top 15 and would ultimately finish the race in 22nd place despite being forced to start from the back due to an unapproved post-qualifying change, a power steering failure, and a crash on the final restart.
At 22 years old, Hezemans will be the oldest driver to take part in the upcoming Combine event alongside Chase Cabre, Rev Racing’s K&N East driver and the runner-up of the 2019 K&N East season. Three drivers – Rajah Caruth, Isabella Robusto, and Lavar Scott – had previously took part in the previous Combine event at Concord, North Carolina. Ryan Vargas, who raced for JD Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series earlier in the year, is also chosen as one of the 10 drivers chosen for this week’s Combine event.
The other 4 chosen drivers were Pro Late Model Series driver Perry Patino and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers Nicholas Sanchez, Brooke Storer, and Gracie Trotter.
“We are excited to see our some of our youth development drivers be selected as participants in this year’s combine,” said Max Siegel, owner of Rev Racing to nascar.com. “We will look to our returning drivers to set the bar high and look forward to the selection of the 2020 Class.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Loris Hezemans.