NASCAR selects Alcorn alumnus Alvin Wilson for Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program

Alcorn State University student-athletes continue to shine as NASCAR once again chooses a former brave to become professional stock racing’s next prominent pit crew member.

Alvin Wilson, a Lexington, Mississippi native, was selected to join the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program following an impressive showing at the program’s combine in May. Wilson, along with six other former student-athletes from across the nation, will relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina to train in the six-month pit crew training program in hopes of landing a position as a tire changer, carrier, or jackman.

The former collegiate athletes were selected based on a fitness assessment held at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. The evaluation tested their agility, strength, and flexibility. Wilson joins two other Alcorn alums, Breanna O’Leary (2016) and Jerick Newsome (2018) as participants in the development program.

Being in Charlotte and working toward achieving his dream career in NASCAR is a significant step for Wilson’s future. He appreciates the opportunity, and he thanks his mentors, Cyrus Russ – assistant vice president for Athletic Compliance and Academic Services – and Jivanna Smith – coordinator for Student-Athlete Services – for inspiring him to participate.

“It is an honor to participate in the NASCAR combine,” said Wilson. “I thank Mr. Russ and Ms. Smith, for informing me about this opportunity.”

Wilson’s work ethic and progress have caught the attention of Phil Horton, director of Athletic Performance for Drive for Diversity. Horton applauds Wilson for his tenacity and expects excellent results from him in the future.

“Alvin is doing well,” said Horton. “He’s showing lots of potential. He’s one of the individuals who stand out amongst the rest. He’s separating himself from the others with his progress.”

This opportunity wouldn’t be possible had it not been for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program’s annual visit to Alcorn. Wilson is proud to represent his alma mater while encouraging others to pursue their passion.

“In my opinion, I have the opportunity to represent the greatest HBCU in Mississippi while showing others that a small-town kid from Lexington can accomplish great things in NASCAR. I want to inspire younger kids from Mississippi to follow their dreams because if I can do this, then they can achieve big dreams too.”

Preparing for a spot on the pit crew team brings back memories to when Wilson played as a linebacker for the Braves football team. He said that the training requires the same level of athleticism and cerebral skills to reach maximum performance.

“The training is similar to football because I have to use my athletic ability during pit stops.  I also have to focus on my fundamentals and techniques so that I can stay consistent whenever I’m putting a tire on a car.”

As Wilson looks ahead, his goal is to become the best at his position.

“I’m going to keep working hard and learning as much as I can to be the best tire carrier in NASCAR.”

NASCAR Drive for Diversity provides opportunities for women and minorities to pursue career opportunities in NASCAR on pit crews, in the driver’s seat through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program and off the track through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. To date, over 100 athletes have participated in the pit crew program and more than 65 graduates have worked in the sport on the national level. Fifty graduates are currently pitting on a national level and more than 30 are competing in the sport’s top series.