INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A brand new organization is getting revved up and ready to roll in Indianapolis. Its goal is to get more women and minorities involved in the sport of racing.
The Rev Racing Motorsports Academy is part of the MSI Youth Foundation. Its creator, Max Siegel, is an attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
"Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world," said Siegel, who grew up around the track.
Now he wants to drive diversity in racing into high gear.
"You get a rush, it's like going on a rollercoaster ride times 10," said driver Walter Thomas III, who hopes to own his own team one day.
"The first time I got in the car, it was just like the excitement was built up. I just felt like I was in my own world and I loved it," said Jada Marsh, who found her comfort zone on the track too.
It's a love that the MSI Youth Foundation wants to encourage, through the new Rev Racing Motorsports Academy.
Siegel is determined to change the face of racing.
"We've always wanted racing and the sport to represent the fabric of the country," said Siegel, who is owner of Rev Racing, and was at one time president of global operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
The academy puts girls and minorities in the pole position by breaking down barriers, like cost, that would generally keep them from participating in racing, and it gets to them early.
"Many of the drivers in the Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR right now started driving go-karts when they were 5, 6, 7, 8 years old," said Siegel.
For 14-year-old driver Walter Thomas III, who has been racing since he was 4, the Rev Racing academy, is a dream come true.
"It's something that you really can't explain but when I get in a car, it's like this is where my soul needs to be, and that's on the track, strapped behind a car," said Thomas.
He hasn't had the money to get out on the track yet this year, but with the support of the Foundation, he hopes to get out there soon. Deja Marsh's mom says racing has excited her daughter's passion.
"I've never seen this much enthusiasm out of my daughter," said Regina Marsh. "The opportunity for her one day to kick down the door to be the diversity driver to be the driver as an African-American to represent our community would be phenomenal for her."
"When you get in the car, you're really in your own world, the only thing you're worried about is first place," says Deja, who hopes to one day compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"If I had my way we'd have as much diversity on the track and in the stands as we do in the country," said Siegel.
Authorities say a 78-year-old man is recovering after passers-by came to his aid when he was in the snow along a Bloomington road without a coat or shoes.
State highway officials say an eight-mile section of Interstate 65 near Lafayette will be expanded to three lanes in each direction.
Crews from a northeastern Indiana fire department had to rush to put out a blaze at the home of their assistant chief.