August 29, 2022

The Road to NASCAR

By Devin Kelley

NASCAR Racing

The process of becoming a NASCAR driver is a long and tedious road. Driving at top speeds of 200 mph is not something that the average person can imagine doing, but for some it is their entire life and not just the actual driving part of it.

NASCAR and global professional motorsports as a whole is a sport that continues to evolve at a rapid rate and continues to gain interest from several different stakeholders. As fascinating as the cars, on-track battles, and business side of this world can be, something almost every Driver is asked when meeting fans or strangers is “how did you get into this?”

Similar to other sports, most NASCAR drivers begin driving as children. They get exposed to the sport in their early life, racing go-karts. Eventually, they work their way up to cars as they get older and more comfortable with the vehicles. The cars get faster and more powerful as they get older in age and improve in skill. The ultimate goal of progression is to be racing under the big lights in front of thousands on the NASCAR stage. Through countless hours of training, driving and practice, only the best of the best will have what it takes to make it to the NASCAR stage.

There are four major national racing series which include the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and ARCA Menards Series. Once they get recognition from high-level drivers, racing teams or companies that want to sponsor them, they can go to racing school and get a license. This is where the process towards professional NASCAR driving gets very competitive. 

The responsibility of growth both on the track but the business side weighs very heavily on the Driver which is different from many other sports. Few have the luxury of letting their talent lead them to the pearly gates of victory lane and top tier team benefits. The business side of motorsports is an ever evolving space that is far from crystal clear.

The interesting thing about obtaining a NASCAR racing license is that, according to many NASCAR drivers, there isn’t a definitive way to get into the NASCAR scene as a driver. While many follow the same route, NASCAR is not set up like many other sports. There is no path to NASCAR through college athletics so it is very important to make connections in the sport.

The most straightforward path to becoming a NASCAR driver is gaining racing experience as young as possible and winning important races to gain notice and create a buzz within the community. While getting a license is a must, many paths can be followed.

There are outliers in the pack like Frankie Muniz that have taken a different route in the pursuit of becoming a NASCAR driver. He was mostly known for his acting endeavors throughout the early 2000's. Frankie Muniz has also quietly had a progressive career in racing that has stemmed from his passion for sports cars and motorsports racing. In late 2021, Muniz began putting the plans in place to go racing full time as a professional motorsports driver with his primary goal being full time NASCAR racing in 2023.  Muniz is licensed to race in the ARCA Menards Series and will make an announcement about his racing plans for the 2023 season soon.

Although there is not one straight path to becoming a NASCAR driver, it is possible for anyone with the drive and ambition to pursue a career in racing. NASCAR driving requires a lot of skill and it takes a certain mindset to achieve such high levels of driving. One thing is clear in every driver's mind, their ultimate goal is to be racing in NASCAR Cup series going for gold.

Sources:

  1. https://www.jacksonville.com/story/sports/motorsports/2012/02/16/pit-road-money-pit-costs-field-nascar-team-are-staggering/15875590007/
  2. https://www.nascar.com/long-form/frankie-in-the-fastlane/
  3. https://www.rookieroad.com/nascar/how-do-drivers-get-nascar-racing-license/
  4. https://www.softschools.com/facts/us_history/nascar_facts/3163/

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