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Original Issue

Sergio Peña

17 / AUTO RACER / Winchester, Va.

Achievements: Debuting on the developmental NASCAR K&N Pro Series in the Toyota All-Star Showdown last January, Sergio qualified on the pole and then finished second behind Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano. Sergio, whose father immigrated from Colombia, entered the series through NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.

First Steps: He received his first ride, a go-kart, for Christmas at age seven and took his first laps in a snowy parking lot. Before Sergio applied for Drive for Diversity, most of his experience was in open-wheel cars. "The first time I watched a NASCAR race," he recalls, "was when I was trying out for the team." One drive and he was hooked: "In these things you can rub against each other, and it makes racing that much more exciting."

Evokes: Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin. Sergio has always been fast, but what impresses Revolution Racing team owner Max Siegel is his Johnson-like precision and a work ethic that matches Martin's.

Coach' s Comment: "You wonder how athletes will perform in competition," says Siegel. "The All-Star Showdown showed [us what he could do]. He was in there with veterans and raced consistently at the front. He didn't get rattled, even when he fell behind."

What' s Next: Sergio can't make the next step, to NASCAR's Nationwide Series or Camping World Trucks Series, until he turns 18 next February, but NASCAR teams such as Penske Racing are already talking to him.