NASCAR Announces 2005 Diversity Scholarships

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 25, 2005) -- The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced the details for the 2005 diversity scholarship program. NASCAR will honor 12 students with the Wendell Scott Scholarship Award through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). This year will mark the fifth year that the scholarships have been awarded.

"My father was forever explaining to all of his children, and any other youth that crossed his path, that a person needs an education, be they rich or poor," said Wendell Scott Jr. "He'd share that his greatest accomplishment was working hard enough to send all six of his children to college. He believed one's best show of competitiveness was walking across that stage to receive one's diploma. The Wendell Scott Scholarship Award is a victory for those of us from diverse backgrounds; it's better than any checkered flag. We, the Wendell Scott Family, salute you NASCAR for having the courage to want to help."

Eight undergraduate and four graduate scholarships will be awarded to students based on a number of criteria. Students must attend any of the 39 UNCF-member colleges and universities or 39 HACU-member colleges and universities during the 2004-2005 school year. To qualify for the awards, students must carry a minimum grade point average, provide a nominating letter from a current faculty member of the student's university and write a one-page statement demonstrating an interest in the motorsports industry.

"The diversity scholarship program is another great example of NASCAR's commitment to diversity," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson, co-chairman of NASCAR's Executive Steering Committee for Diversity. "I look forward to continue working with NASCAR on this and the many other diversity initiatives currently in place."

"We are extremely pleased to reward these deserving students with the scholarships in tribute to NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott," said Tish Sheets, NASCAR director of diversity and special projects. "The scholarships are an important part of our overall commitment to further diversifying the sport."

This year's scholarship recipients are: Uralonda Prioleau (Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.), Michael Coaxum (Claflin University), Tia Carter (St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C.), Crystal Wells (Wiley College in Marshall, Texas), Brandon Ellison (Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.), Kayla Strickland (Lane College), Vanesa Casado (University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.), Ricardo Contreras (Texas A&M University, Kingsville), Jose Cotto (Universidad Metropolitana in Cupey, Puerto Rico), Robert Dominguez (St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas), Monique Nelson (Texas A&M University, Kingsville) and Teresa Ernest (University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.).

In addition to the Wendell Scott Scholarship Awards, NASCAR also awards scholarship funds to the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, the Urban Youth Racing School and North Carolina A&T University Motorsports Program.

Wendell Scott was the most prominent African-American driver to compete in NASCAR's premier division. Scott competed in 495 events in his 13 year career, tying him for 27th on the all-time list. He earned his only career win at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway Park in 1963.