Today, team owners Joe and Cathi Maynard announced the launch of an exciting new program, the JCM Racing Driver Development program. In addition to their NHRA Camping World Series Top Fuel and Funny Car entries, piloted by Tony Schumacher and Tim Wilkerson respectively, JCM Racing will be lending support to three up and comers in 2023.
Junior drag racer Waylon Bennett, 10, Super Comp driver Kayleigh Hill, 21 and Super Stock racer Wyatt Wagner, 21 are the lucky three who make up the JCM Racing developmental driver inaugural class.
The JCM Racing Driver Development program was created to offer the next generation of racers the opportunity to hone their skills in sponsor relations, while also perfecting their driving as they work towards a career in the NHRA professional classes. Members of the program will receive funding to help offset their operational costs, but to Joe Maynard, the real value of the program lies within the access the developmental driver will have to the team and its resources.
“It’s important to us to help the next generation of racers,” Joe explained. “We’re here for the long haul and are committed to the growth of this sport. Our developmental drivers are the future, so we want to keep them on the track and performing at a high level, but there’s more to being a great racer than just driving skills. The most obvious benefit is the financial investment, and this program offers so much more than that. At any time, our developmental drivers can call upon Tim or Tony and receive guidance from two of the greats. They have a direct line to our front office staff and can consult with them on how to interact with sponsors or ask for advice on things such as putting a marketing deck together, for example. We’ve also already held a PR and social media seminar with the group.
“How a driver conducts themselves off the track is just as important as how they do on, and we want to set our developmental drivers up with a solid foundation as they advance in their young careers. But, make no mistake; this is not a sponsorship, it is an opportunity. The goal is for these young folks to become as well-rounded as possible. This isn’t a direct pipeline to a seat in a JCM Camping World Series car, rather it’s an incredible opportunity to learn. They have all of the tools at their disposal, and it’s up to them to make the most out of it.”
With the support from JCM, 2022 Division 2 champion Waylon Bennett will use 2023 to continue his pursuit of another championship and making waves in the Jr. Drag Racing League. Kayleigh Hill, a four time race winner who has found success in the Stock Eliminator and Jr. Dragster classes will be making her Super Comp debut in on the Division 5 circuit. Wyatt Wagner, two time JEGS All-Star and NHRA national event champion, will be competing for a third Division 5 Super Stock championship title.
“This partnership has already opened up doors for me as far as meeting people we probably wouldn’t have otherwise met without the JCM team making that connection,” Wyatt said, his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro is on the cover of the current issue of National Dragster. “Having the support from the Maynards will only help to elevate the program we have been building over these last several years. The goal for right now is to continue to race in the Super Stock category and continue to be successful. Eventually, I’d love to get behind the wheel of a Pro Stock car but I’m taking it one step at a time, and it feels good to know I have the support from JCM as I work towards that long-term goal.”
While the 2023 developmental driver roster is set, the program will open up for new candidates at a date later this year. Starting with the 2024 class, the new inductees will be limited to Jr. Drag Racing League competitors and the program will support up to one Jr driver per division.
Any additional information on how to apply for the 2024 JCM Racing Driver Development program will be announced on the teams social media channels. Interested parties should follow @JCMNitro on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Potential applicants should also refrain from contacting JCM Racing about the program until further instructions have been provided.