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Meet HBCU Student and NASCAR Rising Star Rajah Caruth

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February 14, 2024

Rahaj Caruth is a college student who is really going places… fast!

“Rajah Caruth is an exceptional young man. He’s a very talented driver with a bright future,” Spire Motorsports said in a statement to theGrio. “You hear people talk about an ‘it’ factor, and when you talk to him and get to know him, it’s pretty obvious he has ‘it.’”

Caruth made his NASCAR debut as a rookie full-time racer in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series last year, but that team has since been dissolved. Thankfully, he’s back behind the wheel for another season, this time driving a No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado with Spire Motorsports.  

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“It was pretty special because of all the uncertainty this winter and trying to figure out the best situation,” Caruth said of joining Spire Motorsports. “I felt really thankful to have things get close and then come together pretty quickly. I have a lot of gratitude, and I’m just ready for the season to get started.”

Caruth is currently a senior at Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU in North Carolina, and he’s on track to graduate this year. In addition to carrying a full course load, he travels around the country to race nearly every weekend from February to September.

“It honestly gets harder every year because of the demands on the racing side of things,” Caruth said. “Weekly routines, meetings, and making sure I’m in the best mental and physical condition to drive gets more heightened every season. It’s hard to balance for sure, but this is my second year racing full-time, and this is going to be my reality, hopefully, for a good while. I’m just trying to close this chapter and be done with it.”

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The Washington DC native was inspired by the Pixar film “Cars” to pursue a racing career. Caruth got his start in iRacing, a hyper realistic racing simulator game. He trained on the game and became a leading driver online, where his gaming success landed him a spot in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and he got a chance to race real cars in some lower-level competitions. He’s now part of a growing cohort of professional drivers who started their careers virtually, proving that gaming can lead to the real life race track.

“I try and I work harder than anybody else I race against, and I have to bust my butt to get to their level because I haven’t been doing it a quarter as long as them,” Caruth told WUNC 91.5FM. “So that being said, I feel like, if you put in the time and you apply yourself to learning the craft and learning the sport as well, then you can be as good as anybody.”

Well, Rajah Caruth is better than most on the track. He won the 2021 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award, named after the first Black NASCAR driver and team owner. He finished in the top 10 four times in last year’s Truck Series last year and was No. 16 in the final standings. Caruth also raced part-time in the Xfinity Series and posted a 12th-place finish last October.

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Cover Photo: Meet HBCU Student and NASCAR Rising Star Rajah Caruth/ Photo credit: Instagram

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