Larson gives back with the Urban Youth Racing School Grand Prix
PHILADELPHIA CREAM – An urban course of go-karts on the avenue de la République in the City of Brotherly Love served as the setting for a day of fun and friendly competition on Friday.
The Urban Youth Racing School Grand Prix of Philadelphia with Kyle Larson and friends was the event that attracted many kids and adults eager to see some of NASCAR’s stars. Larson was joined by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman, William Byron and Chase Elliott.
Several Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series drivers were also in attendance: Ross Chastain, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. In addition, drivers Cole Custer, Max Gutierrez, Jesse Iwuji and Lavar Scott participated . NASCAR President Steve Phelps was among the dignitaries in attendance and served as one of the grand marshals of the event.
Hendrick Motorsports is a long-time supporter of UYRS and was one of the sponsors of the event. Team partners Ally, Axalta, Chevrolet and Valvoline were also heavily involved.
PICTURES: Hendrick Motorsports teammates take part in the UYRS Grand Prix
Drivers were paired with other participants in teams of four. Larson’s group came third for a podium finish, while Austin’s and Ty Dillon’s teams finished first and second, respectively.
Larson, the defending Cup Series champion, has a long relationship with UYRS. The 29-year-old from Elk Grove, Calif., has worked with the school since 2017.
“I wanted to do my part to give back, so it’s nice to have a pretty heavy involvement in this (event) and to have a lot of other Chevy drivers here,” Larson said. “It was a great turnout. A fun event. That’s what it’s meant for.”
For Elliott, the opportunity to reach a different audience and play a part in exposing young people to running has been a great experience.
“It’s a good opportunity and a great gateway to our sport,” said the 2020 Cup champion. “To let people know more about racing, it’s not enough to go fast and spin left. There are many avenues in which you can get involved in the industry.”
Earlier today, Ally hosted its fourth annual Fueling Futures program where students learned about potential career paths in racing. Bowman took part in a question and answer session with former professional footballer Bernard Pollard.
By developing a close relationship with UYRS, Larson sees firsthand the impact the school has had in helping the younger generation find an outlet they may not have known or considered. Last year, the driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 visited the school with his Cup championship trophy last year. He also purchased two racing simulators for the school and conducted virtual tours in addition to in-person tours.
RELATED: Kyle Larson has a close relationship with the UYRS
The UYRS was created in Philadelphia in 1998 by Anthony Martin, whose passion for motorsports led him to create the school. The non-profit organization is dedicated to exposing inner-city youth ages 8-18 to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) career opportunities in the motorsports industry through training , education and track driving experience. According to its website, UYRS has impacted the lives of more than 7,500 at-risk youth.
“Anthony and Michelle (Martin) of Urban Youth Racing School are doing a great job introducing these kids to motorsports,” Larson said.
“Having events like this. Letting them out and watching us all race, and some people are probably their first time driving a go-kart. It just sparks interest. There’s a lot of business opportunities in motorsport. It’s not just being a driver. I hope we make a lot of new racing fans.”