Penngove, CA: All of her childhood life, Alissa Geving dreamed of one thing, becoming a professional race car driver. Wednesday afternoon the 18 year-old North Bay native received a phone call that put her one step closer to following that dream.
Officials from the National Association of Stock Car Racing informed Geving that she has officially been accepted into the 2009 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine which begins in mid October.
"I was really surprised when they called," said Geving, a freshmen at Chico State University. "Becoming a NASCAR driver has always been a dream of mine. I'm looking forward to this opportunity and I am excited to get started."
According to the Drive for Diversity management group, Geving was one of twenty-five drivers from throughout the nation invited to attend the 2009 Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco. The event is scheduled to be held October 18-20, 2009 at a location to be determined in the coming weeks.
The Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine brings together 25 of the country's top minority and female drivers for two days of on and off track competition. Drivers invited to the Combine are there for one reason - to showcase their skills in front of NASCAR officials, team owners and industry media in an effort to earn a ride with a team in either the NASCAR Camping World Series or the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Combine participants take part in rigorous on-track testing and off-track media training and evaluation. Drive for Diversity affiliated team owners evaluate drivers and, based on performance and fit with their team, will select a driver to compete for them for a full race season.
Areas of competition at the Combine include: On-track assessment, including testing practice, qualifying laps and intermediate runs in a NASCAR Camping World Series stock car, in-car communication between the driver and crew, media and sponsor relations as well as media training and mock-interview sessions. For Geving, her patience behind the wheel combined with her off track personality make her a prime candidate to one day become a true ambassador to the sport at a national level.
Twenty-five drivers, representing 19 different states and Mexico, were invited to showcase their skills before a panel of 11 established NASCAR team owners for the 2008 Drive for Diversity Combine. Twelve drivers, based on their performance at the Combine, earned the opportunity to compete with a Drive for Diversity affiliated team for the 2009 season. The historic South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. has hosted the Testing & Evaluation Combine for the past four years; the Combine has also been held at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. and Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C.
Drive for Diversity is the industry's leading development program for minority and female drivers and crew members. Managed by The 909 Group, the Drive for Diversity program currently supports drivers in two of NASCAR's developmental series - the NASCAR Camping World Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Drive for Diversity also supports crew member candidates through a year-long pit crew training program. Crew members have gone on to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Alissa Geving began breaking records two years ago when she followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Leroy Geving and her father, Gary Geving behind the wheel of a winged sprint car at her hometown track of Petaluma Speedway. In 2007 she became the youngest female driver in the nation to win a winged sprint car feature event at just 15-years-old.
One year later Geving took her accolades to the next level when she became the youngest lady competitor to win a winged sprint car championship which she followed up this season with a second such title in the Petaluma Speedway All Pro Series. Geving also earned the 2008 Rookie of the Year Award in the competitive Civil War Sprint Car Series and earned Rookie honors at both Petaluma Speedway and Antioch Speedway.
In addition to her experience in a winged sprint car, Geving has had great success this past season in wingless competition, including a heat race win and a top finish in a high profile USAC event at her hometown track. She made her asphalt racing debut earlier this summer when she drove for veteran car owner Ted Finkenbinder in a USAC Western States Sprint Car event in Northern California.
Regardless of the venue in which she competes, Geving displays a great deal of sportsmanship and professionalism. These two qualities are highly recognized by the sport's highest level and are very crucial when it comes to one day driving a race car for a living. Talking to the fans, thanking her sponsors and communicating is one area where Geving has virtually no weakness.
"There are young drivers that can drive the wheels off a car and win races. Then there are the ones that great ability to speak in public and represent the sport in a positive fashion," said Bill Sullivan, Public Relations representative for Geving and a select group of drivers. "Alissa has both those qualities. You can learn how to drive with a lot of lessons, but personality and professionalism is something that comes naturally. Her spirit and drive will take her far in this sport if she continues to pursue it. This is a huge opportunity for her."
Prior to the upcoming Combine in October, Geving plans to continue driving her family owned sprint car at various late season events including an upcoming Civil War Series race at Petaluma Speedway and likely the Pacific Sprint Fall Nationals in Chico. She hopes to have the opportunity to gain additional practice on the asphalt in the coming weeks as well.
"I'm ready to do this," said Geving. "I have a lot of people to thank for getting me where I am at today including my Mom and Dad who have both given me everything I have needed to be competitive and safe. All of my sponsors are very supportive of me and I am thankful for them. I'm going to do my best at this and see where it goes."
Throughout the racing season, Alissa Geving has been supported by a number of great sponsors. These individuals not only have supported Geving financially but have shown great support emotionally as well, cheering her on in both good times and bad. Among the many supports are Tillett Tool, Matt Cordeiro Enterprises, Pit Stop USA, and Auto Repairs Unlimited.
Additional sponsors include Hushpower by Flowmaster Mufflers, Allstar Performance, A1A Performance Muffler, Rossi Auto Body, Afex Graphics, Simpson Racing Product, 21st Century Health Club, Butler Specialtys, Vanlare Steering Repair, DefNder Neck Restraints, Pro Shocks, DirtHead.com, Molecule Labs, Jeremy's Chair Repair, ALC Machine, JW Web Design.
To learn more about Alissa Geving, her sponsors or how to become involved with the team as a sponsor visit her official website at www.chick-o-motorsports.com.