Ray Evernham wants to mentor young NASCAR talent

Ray Evernham has driven race cars, strategized championships, founded race teams and in his spare time offers insightful analysis on TV.

So just what is Evernham’s next move?

Last Saturday, Evernham made a joint announcement with Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith that the pair were developing a new dirt track series for U.S. Legends Cars International. Evernham has designed a Legends-style car specifically for dirt that will debut next year at his East Lincoln Speedway in Stanley, N.C., just west of Charlotte.

For Evernham, however, this could just be the start of a dream to cultivate young talent for the next generation of racing.

Evernham confirmed on Saturday that he’s submitted an offer to purchase Motorsports Management International (MMI).

MMI was founded by Los Angeles-based lawyer Cary Agajanian in 1995 as a driver management and motorsports consulting firm. Today, MMI lists Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray among its clients.

From the grassroots development of drivers to the evolution of professional racing, Evernham would be equipped to offer a full-service program.

“It’s public knowledge that myself and a group of partners have made an offer to Cary Agajanian,” Evernham said. “With the people that I’m involved with, it would be a really exciting project. We don’t have an answer yet. Cary is still thinking about the offer. He wants to get with us —  I think there’s a meeting for the first week of September. So yes, it’s something I’m pursuing. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for the group of people that are involved. I’ve worked with that whole group before and we’ve been successful with other projects.

“It’s not like I will have an office there that I’ll be at every day. My part will be some of the driver development and help with driver coaching, driver management of some of the current talent that they have. I think I have something to offer business-wise and maybe be able to have conversations with guys like Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin on a different level as an advisor. Where right now it may be hard for someone to come to me for my opinion or advise on something when I really don’t have anything to do with them. I’m pretty excited.”

With East Lincoln Speedway and the Ray Evernham Enterprises race teams, the driver/owner has encountered a wealth of new talent across the country. His recent trip to the Knoxville Nationals earlier this month provided another bevy of aspiring racers.

“As I go out around the country, there’s a lot of cool young kids out there,” Evernham said. “I’m actually going to sponsor a couple of them just to keep ‘em going.

“I can’t not work. If you’re going to work, you need to work at something you have fun with. This is something that’s going to be fun. I really feel like this is something I could get my arms around. They say you go through stages in life where it‘s about doing and it‘s about helping. Right now I enjoy helping. I still enjoy working on cars. I still enjoy doing stuff. But I would love to be able to help the sport grow. If you can do that and still make a living, it‘s a pretty good deal. ”
 

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