Hunter-Reay successful in GM driver shootout The following press release was put out by GM, but our sources tell us that ex-Champ Car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was the best driver in the 3-stage intense shootout and will be the driver that Alba Colon, GM Racing Program Manager, is referring to.
Detroit (MI) - The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program concluded on Tuesday, Oct.11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS), Busch Series (NBS) and Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) teams observed the invited drivers go through the paces on the1.333-mile concrete track at the two-day final stage of the three-stage program.
The drivers invited to showcase their talent in the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) prepared NBS cars at NSS were Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Logano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis.
"All the drivers at Nashville did a great job," said Pat Suhy, GM Racing program manager, NASCAR. "Overall I'm hopeful that this process has been of value to them and, equally as important, to our Chevy teams who nominated drivers and those who came to look at the talent for potential rides in the future.
"The test wouldn't have been possible without the professionalism demonstrated by Richard Childress Racing throughout the process...from planning to execution. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of the teams' efforts this year, and to moving forward with an even more effective program next year."
The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program was designed to provide opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone's driver roster. A total of 16 drivers were invited to stages one and two. The first was September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in RCR NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. Stage two was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA in three different dirt track late model cars.
"This program was great," said Alba Colon, GM Racing program manager, NNCS. "All the drivers that attended were very talented. It was exciting to be around such an amazing group. The best part of this exercise was to have the opportunity to showcase the best of the best to our teams. Representatives from many of our teams had an opportunity to study the talent. I really expect at least one of these young drivers to get a contract very soon.
"It was a very successful process and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to repeat this program in the very near future."
Offering this unique opportunity to Chevy NASCAR teams is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track.
"Our final test at Nashville was really useful in determining which drivers had the whole package," remarked Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing program manager, NCTS. "We really put these guys through the paces going from a short track to dirt and finally to the Nashville Superspeedway. There was a tremendous amount of pressure on these guys to perform in front of some of the most influential people and teams in the sport. They all did a tremendous job and there were certainly a few standouts. If I were a team owner looking put a development driver on the fast track, my short list would be set"