Sonoma Raceway and Della Penna Motorsports Next Gen Foundation, a 501C-3 organization, have announced a partnership that will kick off with two events – Karting Day and a NASCAR Race VIP Tour – that will go to support the DPM Next Gen Foundation’s mission to nurture a new generation of women in motorsports by sharing a love of racing, helping young girls to “see it, dream it, and do it.” As part of the partnership, Sonoma Raceway will donate a karting day and host eight girls from Della Penna on April 27. The partnership will continue during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race with pit tours and meet and greets.
The first event, which will take place on April 27, is a Karting Initiation Program that will introduce eight local girls to the dynamic world of motorsports with hands-on experience on the track guided by Sonoma Raceway professionals. The karting day will also feature talks by two champion women drivers – Tati Ziemer, who just competed in the International Formula Woman competition, and Michele Abbate, four-time champion in road racing and professional racing driver.
“I grew up at Sonoma Raceway watching my father win so many races there. To partner with them now, share our love of racing and together provide girls inspiration on the ground to learn more about motorsports really feels like a full circle moment,” said DPM Next Gen Foundation Founder & President Michelle Della Penna. “We are so grateful to the Sonoma Raceway, and look forward to giving young girls the opportunity to see how motorsports work in real time and the joys of being around a track.”
The April 27 program will wrap with a reception to recognize the partnership with DPM Next Gen Foundation founder Michelle Della Penna, DPM Next Gen Foundation acting Executive Director Susan Lucas-Conwell, EVP and General Manager Sonoma Raceway Jill Gregory, and some of the families of girls attending the event.
The second event will take place on June 11 for a larger group of local girls and will be a VIP tour behind the scenes at a NASCAR race, which will include tours of garages and an opportunity to speak with drivers and engineers who will share what the motorsports industry has to offer. More details about this event will be announced closer to the date.
These events follow the successes of the DPM Next Gen Foundation’s first-ever event at The Firestone Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on September 18, 2021, playing host to the Bay Area’s Radical Monarchs, an organization that seeks to create opportunities for young girls of color to form fierce sisterhood, celebrate their identities, and contribute radically to their communities. The foundation has since hosted a “women in motorsports” panel at the LA Auto Show.
The foundation was launched in 2021 by Michelle Della Penna to honor the legacy of her father, IndyCar team owner and legend John Della Penna, by encouraging a more diverse motorsports community and nurturing a next generation talent pipeline that provides opportunities to young women to learn more about motorsports and get involved on and off the track.
To find out more about the Della Penna Motorsports Next Gen Foundation – how your organization can participate, or how you can donate to the cause – visit www.nextgenfoundation.org. Additionally, the foundation can be found on Instagram at @dpmnextgen, on Facebook at @dpmnextgenfoundation, and on Twitter at @DPMNextGen.