Today NASCAR will host the 15th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards in celebration of diversity and inclusion advocates and trailblazers throughout the sport. For the first time, the event takes place in Los Angeles, Ca.
Ten individuals and organizations whose efforts are making a difference both on and off the racetrack will receive awards. Drivers, pit crew members, partners, industry leaders and NASCAR executives will be in attendance.
“We continue to make significant progress in increasing diversity and inclusion across our sport, a collective effort made possible thanks to those receiving awards today,” said NASCAR President, Steve Phelps. “Their contributions are helping drive our sport forward, and these awards celebrate the passion and commitment of leaders who are bolstering our efforts to build a more inclusive NASCAR culture.”
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards honors deserving awardees who are setting an example by advocating for diversity and inclusion across the NASCAR industry.
The 2023 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Award recipients are as follows:
Crew Member Award: Chris Justice
Chris Justice is an 18-year veteran of the sport who began his career with the inaugural NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program class as a tire carrier. He now shares his knowledge with the new generation of pit crew recruits while serving as an IT specialist for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Developmental Series Driver Award: Nick Sanchez
Nick Sanchez earned an ARCA Menards Series championship with Rev Racing in 2022.The NASCAR Drive for Diversity alum is advancing to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023. Sanchez will pilot the No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet for Rev Racing with its technical alliance partner, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Off-track Sanchez works with the De Moya Foundation to introduce new fans to NASCAR.
Sam Belnavis Industry Ambassador Award: Jamie Little
Jamie Little made history in 2021 as the first female broadcaster to serve as lap-by-lap announcer for a national racing series. A veteran motorsports reporter, Little joined FOX NASCAR in 2015 to cover pit road for the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2023, Little embarks on her ninth DAYTONA 500 and also elevates to a part-time play-by-play schedule for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for FOX Sports.
Institution Award: Sports Biz Camps
Sports Biz Camps provides high school and college students access to sports careers through education and engagement with industry professionals. Sports Biz Camps has worked with NASCAR since 2019 to provide students fellowship and shadowing opportunities within the motorsports industry.
National Series Driver Award: Daniel Suárez
In 2022, Daniel Suárez made history as the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. A graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, Suárez continues to be both an ambassador for the sport, the Mexican American and broader Hispanic community. He has carried the Daniel’s Amigos campaign with him for several years, winning support of the initiative at each stop.
Outstanding Intern Award: Susan Wong
Susan Wong participated in the 2022 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. The Arizona State University student spent her summer with NASCAR’s content team where she created original social media marketing strategies for Tik Tok, introducing the sport to new fans.
Partner Award: Advance Auto Parts
In 2022, Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider and the Official Auto Parts Retailer of NASCAR, served as the primary sponsor of the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine, adding key support to programming focused on advancing careers and increasing diverse representation across the industry. The entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAPWS) and Advance My Track Challenge, Advance has dedicated its resources to developing NASCAR at the grassroots level.
Team Award: 23XI Racing
23XI Racing debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021 with Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the No. 23 Toyota. The team was established in part with the goal of helping to create a more diverse fan base and workforce that better represents the makeup of the communities in which they live and race. Since then, the team, owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan, has worked with several partners to create initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion. 23XI Racing is also dedicated to fostering the advancement of those interested in motorsports. Through the SPEED Institute, 23XI Racing’s educational and professional development initiative, the team has also worked to help provide tuition support and internship opportunities for college-aged students.
Track Award: Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway has continued to lead the way in engagement and commitment to community, building relationships that are inclusive of its local market and bringing a major positive impact to the surrounding area. In addition to ongoing partnerships with local schools and businesses in support of diverse communities, the speedway has provided a pace car for the CommUNITY Rainbow Run, a 4.9K benefiting the onePULSE Foundation and National Pulse Memorial & Museum.
Young Racer Award: Nathan Lyons
The 13-year-old, originally from Texas, attended his first NASCAR race at age six through the Speeding to Read program at Texas Motor Speedway, which sparked a love for the sport. Nathan Lyons moved to Concord, N.C., to pursue his dream to race in NASCAR and had five top 10 finishes in the 2022 Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lyons was selected to the 2023 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Team.