Rajah Caruth becomes third Black driver in NASCAR history to win series race

LAS VEGAS — Rajah Caruth became the third Black driver in NASCAR history to win a national series race, driving to victory lane Friday night in the Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Caruth, 21, is from the Washington D.C. area and learned how to race online using the iRacing simulator platform. Now driving for Spire Motorsports, Caruth won the pole position for Friday night’s race and then led 38 laps en route to his first career victory.

“Surreal,” Caruth told FS1 after climbing from his Chevrolet truck. “So many people have helped me get to this point, and I can’t believe it.”

“There’s more to come, for sure,” he added.

Caruth has shown flashes of speed in the past, but was unable to put a complete race together until Friday. He had led only two career laps in 29 previous Truck starts until Las Vegas, when he looked smooth and comfortable while leading the race.

Wendell Scott (1963) and current driver Bubba Wallace — Caruth’s mentor — are the only other Black drivers to win a race in one of NASCAR’s three national series, which include Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.

How big of a deal is this?

Caruth grew up in Washington D.C. dreaming of winning big in NASCAR, a sport his parents knew little about. That a Black teenager whose family has no familiarity with motorsports would think this dream was obtainable would’ve been considered outlandish not too long ago.

But NASCAR in this era is much different, and Caruth pursuing a NASCAR career at the highest level is now not unrealistic as NASCAR has made tremendous strives in making itself a sport accessible to all races and genders.

So now a Black teenager from D.C. who fell in love with NASCAR via playing video games is a winner at the NASCAR national level in a sport where the drivers start in real cars very young and he’s one of only three Black men to win. That’s remarkable. And much like Scott and Wallace before him, Caruth is serving as an inspiration to a future generation of young drivers. — Jordan Bianchi, motorsports reporter

Required reading

(Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

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