Hannah Newhouse, a native of Twin Falls and a Boise State sophomore, was one of 22 drivers picked Wednesday to participate in the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.
This is the 18-year-old’s fourth time attending the combine, which is Oct. 19-21 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
“In the past, the big downfall for me was more or less my age,” Newhouse said. “When you get picked, your commitment is you have to move across the United States to North Carolina. It would have been me on my own, at the time maybe 15, 16, 17 years old. I feel like, and I think they thought as well, that I wasn’t at a place in my life where I could do that because my family couldn’t uproot and move.
“Now they’re looking at me going, ‘OK, she’s 18. She lives on her own. She’s halfway through college. She’s capable of this challenge.’”
The purpose of the combine is to identify and provide an opportunity for ethnically diverse and female drivers to compete in the NASCAR ranks in the K&N Pro Series East or Whelen All-American Series for one season. Drivers chosen for 2016 will be provided with equipment, mentoring and competition experience.
Six drivers will likely be selected from this year’s field, which includes 13 females.
D4D participants will be evaluated on their driving skills, strength and agility exercises and media relations.
Newhouse competed in two K&N Pro Series West races this year before a bad accident in April sidelined her with a concussion and broken ribs. She returned to the series for its September race at Meridian Speedway, but finished 15th after getting a flat tire under green.
“Excited to announce I have been selected again for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity combine,” Newhouse announced on her Facebook page Wednesday. “NASCAR has given me another opportunity to prove what I’ve got.”