Salvador De Alba has left Jay Howard Driver Development to race for Exclusive Autosport this year in USF Pro 2000.
The 23-year-old Mexican only had one weekend of experience in single-seater racing prior to 2022, at the very start of his car racing career, and had spent five years establishing himself as a NASCAR star in his home country.
His rookie USFP2000 season featured two wins, with the second coming from pole on the Gateway oval, and he came eighth in the standings. He joined a select group of drivers who are NASCAR champions and also winners in open-wheel machinery.
“First of all, I’m thrilled to continue racing in the USA,” said De Alba of his 2023 move.
“I am thankful that I have sponsors that believe in this project. I feel way more prepared, now that I know almost all the tracks that we are racing at this season. In addition, I would like to thank the Exclusive Autosport team, and I will do my very best to put the Archandel and Red Cola car on top of the chart.”
After taking Louis Foster to the 2022 title, Exclusive has attracted four full-time drivers for this season. De Alba’s team-mates are GB3 runner-up Joel Granfors and series sophomores Lindsay Brewer and Yuven Sundaramoorthy.
“Salvador did an incredible job last season and was always a threat on-track,” said Exclusive’s owner Michael Duncalfe.
“He is incredibly humble and soft spoken off the track and I have a lot of respect for Salvador. I am very excited to have him compete with Exclusive in 2023 and I’m looking forward to kicking off the season in a few weeks in St. Petersburg.”
After his singular appearance in the Formula 4 Sudamericana championship back in 2014, De Alba spent two seasons in the Super V8 touring car series and was a race-winner in the Freightliner Truck racing series before stepping up into NASCAR’s top tier in Mexico aged just 17.
In his rookie campaign he claimed two poles and a podium, and in 2018 there were a further four poles and a maiden win. De Alba was championship runner-up in 2019, while also becoming a star of Mexico’s truck racing scene and winning Super Copa’s single-make Mercedes-Benz touring car championship.
A tougher 2020 season included wins but no title challenges, and he rebounded in style in 2021 by becoming NASCAR Mexico champion aged 21. During the summer he also tested one of Andretti Autosport’s Indy Nxt cars at Mid-Ohio, and seed was sown to make his single-seater transition – and dream of racing in IndyCar – possible.
Last year he continued in NASCAR alongside USFP2000, and came fifth in the standings with one win.