HAMPTON, VA :: There’s more to evaluating – and helping a driver improve – than going fast and turning left.

For the 20 drivers attending in the 2014 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine, Tuesday will mark the big day where they climb into Late Model Stock Cars and take laps around .4-mile asphalt Langley Speedway. But before they got their hands on steering wheels, they faced journalists and jump ropes on Monday.

The 11th annual combine got underway with media training sessions at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism at Hampton University, where drivers participated in interviews with the advance journalism students in press conference and one-on-one settings.

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, which is executed by Rev Racing, is designed to identify and train young female and diverse drivers at the grass roots level who demonstrate necessary talent to climb the ranks within the motorsport industries.

This is the fourth year the NASCAR D4D Program has partnered with Hampton, which is located near Langley – the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track that hosts the on-track portion of the combine.

Following their media work, the drivers transitioned to the physical training assessment. Phil Horton, Rev Racing’s strength & conditioning coach, took the candidates through a high-paced cicruit in Hampton’s fitness center.

Rev Racing’s academy-style, year-round racing program not only fields cars for the NASCAR D4D drivers. Under Horton’s supervision, the drivers are also put on a fitness program designed to hone their fitness and conditioning levels.

Las Vegas driver Jay Beasley found out first-hand the benefits of the program last year. In his first season with Rev Racing, Beasley stepped up from driving Super Late Models to competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

“Mentally it was a really big challenge,” said Beasley of making the transition up the NASCAR ladder. “Physically, I was in such good shape that I didn’t have to worry about my conditioning that I was able to concentrate on what I had to do in the race.

“It’s huge. The cars are actually harder to maneuver because the roll center is higher and has more horsepower. So you really need to be in the zone physically as you are mentally.”

Beasley and current Rev Racing teammate Sergio Peña are the two current drivers in the NASCAR K&N East under consideration to return to the team in 2015, but will not compete at the Combine.