A lawsuit was filed against the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) on Friday in U.S. District Court in New York by Diversity Motorsports Racing LLC CEO Terrance Cox III for racial discrimination, who seeks $500 million for punitive and compensatory damages.
NASCAR affiliated International Speedway Corp. (ISC) and all 18 current Sprint Cup Series teams are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which also seeks a court injunction mandating NASCAR to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
Mr. Cox, an African-American, claims that NASCAR denied Diversity Motorsports’ application to enter the series and join the sport’s Drive for Diversity program, which promotes female and racial minority drivers. According to court filings, NASCAR officials told Cox to stop making contact with them in 2015.
“Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States,” the plaintiff’s complaint read. “NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation.”
In its three national touring series, NASCAR currently has only one driver and two owners who are of African descent — one of whom, former NBA player Brad Daugherty, only has a 10 percent stake in Sprint Cup team JTG Daugherty Racing.
In addition, Cox also alleges that in September 2015 NASCAR denied entry of a new team financed in-part by comedian Steve Harvey in conjunction with Diversity Motorsports, supposedly called “Steve Harvey Races 4 Education”.
Mr. Harvey denied such a deal was in the works on his radio show Tuesday.
Cox seems to be on a mission to diversify the ranks of professional stock car racing, as he also is the founder of Minority Youth Matters Movement, which states on its website that its goal is to “enlighten the American public, the corporate sponsors . . . on the disproportion of sponsorship dollars dedicated to minority NASCAR teams, employment, educational programs and opportunities to race in all series.”
“Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission.”
According to multiple sources, NASCAR will file a civil counter-suit against Cox and Diversity Motorsports for defamation.
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