RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Raceway and Coca-Cola Consolidated announced Rajah Caruth and Garrett Manes as the inaugural members of the Coca-Cola Richmond Raceway eSports Development team on Monday.
With the new development program, Coca-Cola ReD is expanding Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco to further engage the next generation of race fans through regional and online engagement.
“Richmond Raceway continues to be a key player in the growth of esports in motorsports, so the foundation of Cca-Cola ReD is the next step in the evolution of Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “With every step we take in esports, Richmond continues to be committed to connecting to the next generation of race fans.
“Thanks to our long-time partner in Coca-Cola Consolidated for their commitment to supporting Richmond Raceway from the track to our growing engagement on esports.”
The Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco team will work with the Coca-Cola ReD team of Caruth and Manes to amplify their online presence, support the growth of their personal brand, and aid their development to become future competitors in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
Caruth and Manes will race throughout the year on iRacing under Coca-Cola ReD for Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco. They will also attend Richmond events as ambassadors of the program.
“Coca-Cola Consolidated is always looking to find innovative ways to engage with racing fans and partners,” said Heather Hucks, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at Coca-Cola Consolidated. “With the launch of Coca-Cola Energy, we are excited to provide Richmond Raceway eSports fans and drivers with a new beverage experience before, during and after iRacing competitions.”
Caruth, a native of Washington, D.C., is an upcoming motorsports athlete on the track and in esports. In 2020, he is competing with Rev Racing for his second consecutive year as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program.
He was the first driver with an iRacing background to be selected for the program.
Caruth has also competed in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, a first-of-its-kind esports competition created to identify young talent by providing a low barrier of entry to the sport.
In 42 starts, Caruth finished second in seven races and competed in the championship race at Martinsville Speedway.
In 2020, Caruth will compete in a late model in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program.
He will also return to compete in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C., which he competed in last year winning two heats. Last season, Caruth competed in six races with Rev Racing as part of the program.
In iRacing, Caruth will compete in the eNASCAR Road to Pro Series, NASCAR iRacing Series, and the Esports Racing League Sportsman Division.
“It is truly an honor to be a member of Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco’s inaugural Coca-Cola ReD team,” said Rajah Caruth. “To be teammates with Garrett Manes, Zack Novak, and Jimmy Mullis, along with representing one of the most innovative tracks in the country, is surreal. I went to my first NASCAR race at Richmond in 2014, and to be here in this capacity in six years is mind-blowing.
“I am looking forward to a great year as part of the team.”
Manes, a native of Powhatan, Va., has been racing since he was ten years old. Extreme mental focus, exceptional peripheral vision and the ability to observe his environment in great detail are all qualities that help him excel as a race car driver.
Diagnosed with autism at age two, Manes sees the world through a different filter than most people. He knows this about himself and embraces the challenges and the benefits of his nature.
The Manes family have made awareness and support of the autism community a core component of their racing platform.
Manes got his start in racing as part of Arena Racing, where he won three consecutive youth championships and holds series records for the most wins, pole awards, and fastest lap. He has competed on the track in pro late models, pro trucks, Legend cars, Arena Racing and in esports.
Manes has raced in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C., since 2016, posting wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Semi Pro Division in 2018.
In January, Manes teamed up with Ladyga Motorsports and picked up the win in the Pro Division at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With over 1,700 wins in simulation as a driver in iRacing, Manes continues to regularly compete in races across the platform.
“The success and attention that racing provides allows me to reach other families that face the same challenges of autism that I have faced,” said Manes. “It gives me a chance to make a real difference for them.”
Richmond and Coca-Cola Consolidated recently announced an expanded partnership on Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco, with Coca-Cola Consolidated serving as the official refreshment partner of the program.
Along with holding the naming rights to Coca-Cola ReD, Coca-Cola Consolidated is also the primary sponsor of the No. 46 Toyota Camry in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driven by Jimmy Mullis.