Devon Rouse will have to wait a little longer before he can make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series début. On Tuesday, Rouse announced on Twitter that he will not run the 27 March race on Bristol Motor Speedway‘s dirt surface, citing sponsorship roadblocks and personal reasons. However, he intends to compete in the series’ other dirt event at Knoxville Raceway on 9 July.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances I will not be racing the @NASCAR_Trucks at @BMSupdates,” Rouse tweeted. “I appreciate everyone’s support and understanding. As hard as it is to hear, it’s significantly more difficult to post and have to make this decision.”
In a reply to user Isaac McKissick, Rouse explained the change of plans was due to “a mix of a few things.. I had sponsorship, but not all completely covered… unfortunately also have some other things in personal life going on as well I need to be at home for right now”.
Another response to Jordan Fixsen confirmed he still aims to race at Knoxville. Reaume Brothers Racing will field a truck for him in the event; the team had also planned to do so for Bristol.
A sprint car racer at tracks in his native Iowa, Rouse’s first experience in a stock car came when he tested with RBR at Myrtle Beach Speedway in January 2020 after connecting with team owner Josh Reaume and Xfinity Series driver Robby Lyons. He had hoped to run the series’ dirt event at Eldora Speedway before it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Eldora was subsequently removed from the 2021 schedule and replaced by Bristol and Knoxville; the latter is located approximately 130 miles away from Rouse’s hometown of Burlington.
Last January, Rouse joined Fast Track Racing for ARCA Menards Series preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. Participating in the first day of the two-day session, he was forty-sixth fastest of fifty-six drivers overall.
When Rouse finally gets to début in the Truck Series, he will be just the second openly LGBTQ+ driver to race in NASCAR joining Stephen Rhodes, an openly gay late model driver who ran two Truck races in 2003. Rouse became the first gay driver to turn laps in an ARCA-sanctioned session when he did the Daytona test, which had been made possible after connecting with 2017 ARCA champion Austin Theriault. Although NASCAR has long been associated with stereotypes like homophobia, the sanctioning body took steps in recent times to shed that image, such as partnering with the You Can Play campaign during Pride Month last year.
Reaume Brothers Racing field two trucks, the #33 and #34, for a variety of drivers. Jake Griffin, a dirt ringer like Rouse, plans to run the Bristol and Knoxville races for the team and will thus serve as his team-mate for the latter.