Nationwide — Meet Rajah Caruth, the youngest of the only four African American drivers in NASCAR. At just 21 years old, he is balancing his professional racing career while also enrolled at Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU in North Carolina.
In 2014, Caruth’s NASCAR journey began when he attended his first race, a dream he had ever since he watched the Pixar movie Cars at the age of 4, he told Blavity.
Determined to switch from spectator to professional driver, Rajah honed his skills using racing simulators, getting over obstacles like his age, location, and lack of connections in the racing world. He juggled between his high school studies, a summer job, and competing in eSport racing.
However, Rajah’s shift from virtual racing to the real track wasn’t seamless, with a few stalls in his first time driving a manual car. It even took him nearly a year to overcome the challenges, but he sees his background in sim racing as a superpower that sets him apart.
Rajah breakthrough came when he caught the attention of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Development program through the eNASCAR Ignite Series.
In 2019, he made his real-world racing debut at the Bojangles’ Southern Shootout race, finishing his rookie year with two Top 10 placements.
Fast forward to 2023, and he achieved significant milestones, finishing 16th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and making history as one of the first Black drivers for Hendrick Motorsports. The Wendell Scott Foundation sponsored his 2023 season, marking another milestone for the young driver.
Moreover, Rajah is currently enrolled at Winston-Salem State University, majoring in Motorsport Management. He believes that learning the business side of racing is essential for his future beyond driving. He aims to give back to the sport and leave a positive impact, representing diversity within NASCAR.
“I want to be the best racer that I can be but also pay my dues and leave the sport better than it was when I first arrived on the scene, for those who do and don’t look like me alike,” Caruth said.
Be sure to follow him on Instagram @RajahCaruth_