NHRA team owners Joe and Cathi Maynard are pleased to announce the launch of the JCM Racing Driver Development program. In addition to its two Camping World Series entries piloted by Tony Schumacher and Tim Wilkerson, JCM Racing will lend support to three up-and-coming speedsters in 2023. Junior drag racer Waylon Bennett, 10, Super Comp driver Kayleigh Hill, 21, and Super Stock racer Wyatt Wagner, 21, make up JCM Racing’s inaugural class of developmental drivers.
The JCM Racing Driver Development program was created to offer young racers the opportunity to hone in and perfect their driving and sponsor relation skills as they work towards a career of competing in the NHRA’s professional ranks. While JCM Racing developmental drivers receive funding to help offset their operational costs, Joe Maynard believes that the true value of the program lies within the access the developmental drivers have to the JCM Racing team and its resources.
“It’s important to us to help the next generation of racers,” explained Maynard. “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,” added Maynard. “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 support from JCM, Bennett, the 2022 Division 2 champ, will continue to make waves in the Jr. Drag Racing League in 2023. Hill, a four-time race winner who has previously found success in the Stock Eliminator and Jr. Dragster categories, will make her Super Comp debut on the Division 5 circuit, while Wagner, a two-time JEGS All-Star and NHRA national event champion, will be competing for his 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,” said Wagner, whose 1968 Chevrolet Camaro graces 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 developmental driver roster is set for 2023, the program will open up to new candidates at a date to be announced later in the year. Starting with the 2024 class, new inductees into the program will be limited to Jr. Drag Racing League competitors, and the program will support up to one Jr. driver per division. Additional information regarding how to apply for the 2024 JCM Racing Driver Development program will be announced via the team’s social channels, so interested candidates should be sure to follow @JCMNitro on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Potential applicants should refrain from contacting JCM Racing about the program until further instructions have been provided.