Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

NASCAR Hit With $500M Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

A quick scan of NASCAR's website reveals that not a single one of its 48 Sprint Cup drivers is black, none of NASCAR's senior management is black, and only one of the 18 teams has even partial black ownership. And now a lawsuit is citing the lack of diversity and claiming that NASCAR officials actively prevent black-owned teams and drivers from competing in its top flight.

And the plaintiffs are looking for a $500 million judgment against the racing league.

Racing v. Race

The lawsuit was filed by Terrance Cox and his company, Diversity Motorsports Racing LLC, and names NASCAR, its parent company, International Speedway Corp, and 18 racing teams as defendants. "Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States," according to the complaint, "NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation."

Cox and Diversity Motorsports are asking for $75 million in compensatory damages, $425 million in punitive damages, and an injunction requiring NASCAR to "fully integrate the African-American community." The plaintiffs' lawyer, Ronald Paltrowitz, told Reuters that any funds won in the suit would go towards boosting minority participation in motorsports.

Hot Driver's Seat

NASCAR shook off the allegations, claiming, "Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders. We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission." CNN reports that NASCAR started offering a diversity internship in 2000, and founded a diversity pit crew program and an initiative called "Drive for Diversity" in 2004.

But, as the lawsuit points out, those efforts have seen little progress in the way of adding African-American drivers, executives, and owners to pit row. Whether a court will punish NASCAR for a lack of results remains to be seen.

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