Thursday, October 10, 2019


It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, the ties between Latinos and NASCAR are only growing. NASCAR attracts fans from all backgrounds and we see that more in the sport as time goes on.

This is evident from the race track side, where we saw Cuban-born Ralph Sanchez build his dream track of Homestead-Miami Speedway, to the driver side where we saw Mexican-born driver Daniel Suarez win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship in 2017.

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program is an essential example of the growth in diversity in our sport. We’ve seen drivers like Suarez, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Larson succeed and run in NASCAR’s top series. At the end of the day, the goal of all the drivers in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program is to reach the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

A driver that is currently a part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program and has been making his name known in the sport is Miami’s own, Nick Sanchez. Sanchez is from Cuban descent and began racing karts at Homestead-Miami Speedway at age 12.

The 18-year-old began seeking other racing opportunities after a few years of racing karts in the state of Florida. He applied for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity legends car program and was given the opportunity to run the Bojangles Summer Shootout in 2017 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Miami native is unlike many drivers trying to make it in the stock car racing world. Sanchez fell in love with racing on his own as his family had very little interest in racing while he was growing up.

“No influence from my family at all,” Sanchez said. “My dad works in construction and my mom is an account executive so they have nothing to do with racing. My dad has always been into classic cars and being raised around classic cars whether it is a Corvette or Cobra you just love anything with an engine, I guess that had an influence.”

Sanchez was fortunate enough to run in the 2019 NASCAR Whelen-All American Series. He picked up wins at Myrtle Beach Speedway and at the season finale at Langley Speedway in Virginia.

“It’s been an awesome season,” Sanchez said. “We’ve actually raced at about five tracks. So, we’ve had a vast majority of differences in the tracks and it definitely helps an overall driver and has helped me as a driver improve being exposed to different types of surfaces and tracks and different characteristics.”

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program opened his doors to diversify his racing ethics. Having success running karts on road courses has transferred over to different tracks across the southern region.

“They’ve been an amazing help and without them, I wouldn’t have been exposed to the stock car world,” Sanchez said. “I’m used to road coarse karting and the Formula car aspect and I never really knew what a late model, legend car, or even K&N car was growing up and then knowing about this program and hearing from people around to eventually applying led me to this end and my new found love of NASCAR.”

His appreciation of NASCAR and gaining experience in stock cars continues assisting Sanchez to climb the ladder in racing. He hopes for the 2020 campaign that he can obtain an opportunity in one of the ARCA Menards Series.

Furthermore, this young Hispanic driver that is trying to make it in the sport is grateful for the opportunity he has been given in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program. “I’d like to thank Max Siegel for allowing me to drive his race cars and believing in me,” Sanchez said.