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Training the Next Generation of NASCAR Drivers

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ROSEVILLE --

Quite possibly, the next wave of NASCAR drivers will have been trained right here locally.

Bill McAnally Racing, who has a race shop on Riverside Avenue, put together a drivers combine for the next up-and-coming stars.

"We're looking for that diamond in the rough that we can develop," noted McAnally.

Eleven drivers came by invitation only. They ranged in age from 15 to 24. Most came from racing backgrounds like Todd Gilliland, who is the 15-year-old son of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland.

"If these kids' goals and aspirations are to make it to the Sprint Cup level, there is a lot more to it than just driving a race car around in circles fast," said David Gilliand.

Gilliland was joined at the track by FOX NASCAR Analyst Larry McReynolds. Both men are enjoying a rare weekend off from racing.

"It's easy to pull the stopwatch out and say, 'who went the fastest?' But it's all about all the other things that it takes to be successful and to win races," explained McReynolds."It's about the job you do outside the race car almost as much as you do inside the race car. You're a spokesperson for a team, a spokesperson for sponsors."

That's the part of the job that isn't so easy for these drivers, but it's the part they probably have to work on the hardest.

"Yeah, the media, that's definitely not my favorite part about it, but I definitely have to get better at it," said Todd Gilliland. "I'm learning all the time and hopefully this experience will help me that much more."

"We're evaluating and grading them on the way they speak to the media," added McAnally. "The way they handle and present themselves. The image they carry. And, of course, how they driver a race car, most importantly."