NASCAR announced today it has lowered the minimum age for drivers competing in its regional touring series to 15.
The change, effective immediately, will be applied to drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
“We are constantly evaluating the process in which drivers are introduced to the sport and make their way up the NASCAR ladder,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “This change is the next logical step as the influx of talented young drivers entering NASCAR grows.
“The NASCAR touring series level is a great platform for developing the next generation of our sport’s stars. By making this adjustment, we are increasing the opportunities for drivers and crew members to compete and gain experience at the regional level, and prepare them for the higher levels of the sport.”
In a corresponding move, the Learner’s Permit License for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be applicable for all divisions at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. The Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR's national championship program for its more than 55 sanctioned short tracks across North America. More than 10,000 drivers compete in the series annually.
Last year, NASCAR introduced the Learner’s Permit to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, which allowed drivers and crew members ages 14 and 15 to participate in tracks’ entry-level divisions.
In 2007, NASCAR lowered the age minimum for the regional touring series from 18 to 16. Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano, then 17, won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship that season.
Ryan Truex, driving this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series at age 17 and won the last two East championships. Brett Moffitt, who will take over for Truex at Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, broke Logano’s record as youngest series winner in 2009 when he was 16.
In 2008, Ryan Preece was 17 when he set the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour record for youngest winner at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, while Erick Rudolph eclipsed that mark in 2009 at age 17.