NASCAR honored Southern National Motorsports Park Limited Late Model champion Haley Moody and Langley Speedway track owner Bill Mullis at the annual NASCAR Diversity Luncheon in Daytona Beach, Florida on Friday afternoon.
Moody was honored with the Diverse Driver Award for her three wins and her division championship as well as her contributions to the sport off the track.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to be chosen for this,” Moody said. “I am thankful that NASCAR views me as an influence on young women and on young people. One of the things that gives me joy is seeing young kids at the track on race day. I was once one of those kids, growing up at the track with my dad. He gave me the opportunity to race.”
Moody also spoke about the difficulties of being a woman racing against mostly male competitors.
“It was difficult at times being a woman in a man’s sport and trying to be competitive. I did not always get the respect the other guys had, but that is how it goes. It only makes me stronger and makes me want to win that much more. I am sure Danica knows all about this. She is one I look up to and admire. This year I will be racing again with hopefully more wins and more success.”
Full transcript: Haley Moody’s speech at the NASCAR Diversity Luncheon
Mullis was honored with the Partner Award for his contributions to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Langley Speedway, which is located in Hampton, Virginia, has hosted the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine for the last four years.
“It’s a true honor to receive this award. NASCAR’s multicultural development through Rev Racing is truly one of its visionary efforts to carry racing and its popularity into the future,” Mullis said. “It’s been an honor to host the Drive for Diversity Combine and see that vision take place, and see the opportunities that have opened for drivers and see the impacts that has had on today’s racing and their communities.
“Being part of this has been a blessing and has created great new friendships at Langley Speedway going into its 65th season in 2015.”
Mullis also talked about some of the drivers who have come up through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.
“Being something bigger than the small part we play in local racing, with (drivers) like Darrell Wallace, Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, have opened doors of opportunity by proving how the plan works and how the Drive for Diversity plan can be effective.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola, who won last year’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, Legends racer Enrique Limon and crew member Richie Williams were also among those honored at the ceremony. Former NASCAR driver and NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton, NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton and CBS news correspondent Michelle Miller were all on hand for the ceremony, which was hosted by Burton in Daytona Beach, Florida.