The eyes of race fans will be on the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday as NASCAR’s “postseason” is in full effect with just three Sprint Cup races to go.
But it won’t take more than a glance to realize that none of the 12 drivers vying for NASCAR’s annual championship are a minority. While the racing organization has worked hard to overcome the perception that it’s an all-white, male sport, a survey of the current field does little to shift that thinking.
At No. 17, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who made the move to NASCAR from Formula One racing in 2006, is the only minority ranked in the top 20. In fact, on NASCAR’s drivers’ page, which features 40 of the sport’s top drivers, Montoya is the only minority at all.
The racing organization is seeking to change that–and NASCAR feels it is truly turning the corner on that front.
“[Diversity] is at the very core of our business,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “We believe it is essential for NASCAR going forward to further diversify the field of competitors, the drivers and crew members, the athletes at the core of our sport. It’s a leading corporate and industry initiative.”
Two weeks ago, NASCAR held its eighth Drive for Diversity combine. The event brought together two dozen promising female and minority racers with the goal of developing talent from underrepresented demographics.