Drive for Diversity profile: Michael Cherry

BY foxsports • January 22, 2009

Team Owner: Addis Motorsports

Track: Greenville-Pickens Speedway

Hometown: Valrico, FL

Years in Racing: 5

Date Of Birth: 3/24/89

Michael Cherry, 19, has been racing for the last 5 years, and now calls Greenville, S.C., home. Cherry moved from Valrico, Fla., last year to further his racing career. He began racing in the Street Stock Division at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa Bay just four years ago. Cherry finished the 2004 season seventh in the points standings, and was recognized as the youngest driver, and first African-American, to compete at East Bay Raceway Park.

Cherry spent another season running Street Stocks at East Bay Raceway Park in 2005 where he scored three feature wins before moving into the Limited Late Model and Late Model Divisions at Hendry County Speedway in 2006. Cherry proved he was capable of winning races, and earned an invitation to the Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine in October 2006, his first test in a NASCAR Camping World Series car.

Cherry used this experience to vault himself to the next level for the 2007 season. He captured the Sportsman Division Championship with 17 wins and 19 top-fives in 19 starts. This success earned Cherry another invitation to the annual Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine.

His performance at the Combine earned him a place on the Drive for Diversity roster for the 2008 season. Cherry piloted the No. 34 Late Model for FDJ Motorsports in the NASCAR Whelen All- American Series at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. He finished the 2008 season fourth in the points standings and took home Rookie of the Year honors. Cherry had two top-fives, and 14 top-10s in 18 starts, showing he has what it takes to be successful.

Cherry was selected to the 2009 Drive for Diversity class for the second year in a row. He will race for Addis Motorsports at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.

Cherry says that his hero/mentor is Wendell Scott, the first African American to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

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