The first open LGBTQ driver in ARCA competition is looking to begin his career this season. Devon Rouse is currently approved to compete in 22 races this year between the national ARCA tour, ARCA East Series, ARCA West Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I had approval for anything a mile and smaller [in ARCA],” Rouse told The Racing Experts on Monday. He also mentioned that he’s been approved to compete in “the two Truck races on Dirt, which all the contracts and stuff need to be finalized to get that done.” The pair of dirt Truck races are at Bristol Motor Speedway (Mar. 27) and Knoxville Raceway (July 9). He was slated to compete at Eldora Speedway last summer, however, the race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this moment, his final 2021 plans are yet to be finalized. “My goals for this year are to run as many, many ARCA races as I can this year,” Rouse continued. “Just to get one, experience getting as many laps under my belt. Do those couple Truck races if I can, look towards 2022 and potentially run full-time ARCA.”
Rouse was fresh off the January Daytona International Speedway test — his first time driving around the World Center of Racing at speeds exceeding 180mph. “Definitely an experience I’ll never forget.” Rouse tested at Myrtle Beach Speedway last January with a NASCAR Truck team.
“People have asked me ‘do you think you’re ready for that?’ and absolutely,” he said. “Going into Daytona — there was never a point a fear. There was a point of nerves due to the unknowings of normality.” He continued, “Ultimately I’m ready to do it and I wanna do it. I’m praying I get a call this week to do it [next month].”
The Burlington, Iowa native came out as gay on June 16, 2020. Rouse announced on January 12th through his Twitter he was the only open NASCAR driver with him participating in the test. He tested for Andy Hillenburg in the Fast Track Racing No. 10. He ended the session 46th of 56 drivers. Full results from the test can be found here.
When announcing his participation in the test, several members of the LGBTQ side of the NASCAR community immediately began supporting Rouse, who was asked about the fan base and if they apply more pressure on his performance. “I wouldn’t say no, it’s actually kind of nice having the support. I got a good backing as a newbie and a good fan base of people following me into this. It’s more comforting.”
At the Daytona test, Rouse was introduced to the President of ARCA, Ron Drager. “He asked me ‘How’d everyone treat you this weekend?’, he acknowledged that and that was pretty special.”
At the moment, Rouse’s 2021 plans are not solidified.