Drive for Diversity profile: Laura Hayes

BY foxsports • January 22, 2009

Team Owner: James Racing

Track: South Boston Speedway

Hometown: Wilton, Calif.

Years in Racing: 10

Date Of Birth: 3/15/90

Laura Hayes, from Wilton, Calif., is 18 years old and has been racing for the last 10 years. She began her racing career in quarter midgets at the age of eight and drove them until 2002 when she began driving shifter karts. During her time in quarter midgets and karts she amassed 12 national, state and regional titles and 100 wins. Hayes is a third-generation racer, her mom and dad met at a race track during competition between the two families.

In 2004, Hayes was invited to attend the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program as one of its youngest attendees ever. In 2005, Hayes won her class at the IKF Grand Nationals. She became the first female to win a "Duffy" in shifter karts.

Hayes transitioned from road race karts back to oval track racing in 2006. She participated in the USAC Ford Focus Midget class, running full-time in the highly competitive California paved track division. Hayes won one race and scored seven top-five finishes, 10 top 10s and finished sixth in the invitational National Championship race. In 2007, she took a big step forward when she raced in the USAC Western States Asphalt Sprint Series, the same series where Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart honed their skills. That same year, she also began testing late model stock cars.

Hayes made a leap in 2008 when she competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with Golden State Racing. She finished sixth in the late model points standings with one win, 12 top fives, and 18 top 10s. This performance vaulted her into the 2008 Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway.

This year, Hayes will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at South Boston Speedway for James Racing as a member of the Drive for Diversity class.

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