Meet Rajah Caruth, the youngest of only four Black drivers in NASCAR

Dollita Okine February 14, 2024
Rajah Caruth. Photo Credit: Instagram

Rajah Caruth is the youngest black NASCAR driver. Caruth grew up in a non-NASCAR racing family. His parents work in academia and place a high value on education.

For years, Caruth was enthralled with the Pixar movie “Cars.” His interest in racing began as a youngster when he saw Lightning McQueen, and it grew into a full-fledged fixation. He told USA Today “Racing was always it for me.”

Drawn in by the vehicles’ speed, he convinced his family to schedule Sunday afternoons after church around NASCAR events. When he was 12, his enthusiasm grew after seeing NASCAR up close for the first time on a surprise family vacation to Richmond Raceway.

“Everything just seemed so infectious,” Caruth recalled. “From that point forward, it was like, I want to be a race car driver.”

He believed iRacing would enable him to reach his goal. Thus, in 2018, as a rising junior in high school, he adjusted his priorities. Caruth and his family raised funds for an iRacing rig while juggling school, basketball, and track, as well as a summer job. To pursue his passion, he immersed himself in professional driving and began utilizing racing simulators.

He spent every free moment he had learning how to be a better racer in that seat. “That was my only shot,” he explained.

After just four years, the young talent made his NASCAR debut with seven Xfinity and four Truck races in 2022, having previously competed in iRacing, Legends, Late Models, and ARCA.

But, as Caruth recalled, the transition from virtual to actual racing was far from smooth. Caruth’s opportunity to compete in a full-time NASCAR ride was approaching in 2021, just three years after he started iRacing. However, to go from ARCA racing to the NASCAR Truck Series, he needed financial assistance.

When Warrick Scott, the president and CEO of the Wendell Scott Foundation named after his late grandfather, saw Caruth at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2021, he asked the young driver what he needed. Help in finding sponsors, that’s all, he said.

Wendell Scott Foundation and GMS Racing joined forces to become Caruth’s major sponsor for the 2023 season. The 21-year-old racer, a junior at Winston-Salem State, made his full-time debut in the third-tier NASCAR Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway. Five years ago, he had no racing or NASCAR experience.

Caruth drives the No. 24 Chevrolet for GMS Racing and is in a select group of drivers alongside William Byron, a driver in the Cup Series, who is said to be the only other driver to have made the uncommon but plausible transition from simulated racing to a NASCAR career, USA Today reported last year.

Caruth said he will still rely on iRacing even with his full-time Truck Series ride, not only for practice but also to assist him get ready for courses he has never raced on.

Caruth, who is currently the youngest of only four Black drivers in NASCAR, told Blavity, “I want to be the best racer that I can be but also pay my dues and leave the sport better than it was when I first arrived on the scene, for those who do and don’t look like me alike.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 15, 2024


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