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Racial Inequalities in NASCAR

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Rachael Held

on 20 June 2014

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Transcript of Racial Inequalities in NASCAR

Racial Inequalities in NASCAR: How the Past Influences the Current and Future Prospects for an Integrated Sport
Rachael Held
Gender & Diversity in Sport
June 2014

Brief History of NASCAR
-Founded in 1948 by Bill France Sr.
-Held first stock car race in 1949 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway
-NASCAR came from southern traditions and a predominantly white demographic
-Sport provides fans a chance to show off their "Southern" roots
-History of White Supremacy and
minority exclusion

Least diverse professional sport
Lacking minority quotas in all aspects of diversity
This presentation will focus on the lack of RACIAL diversity & What NASCAR can and will do to improve their driver and fan diversity

-Based in Daytona Beach, Fl.
-Offices in Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City, Toronto, Bentonville, Ark., and Charlotte, Concord and Conover, N.C.
-NASCAR sanctions 1,500 races at more than 100 tracks in 35 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico
-Current CEO is Brian France, the grandson of NASCAR founder Brian France Sr.
-Current President is Mike Helton
-NASCAR is not publicly traded on the stock exchange, however its major sanctioning body is International Speedway Corporation which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under stock symbol ISCA
-The governing body makes the rules, runs the events and makes sure the drivers follow the rules.
-The governing body manages the major racing series and is in charge of crowning a champion
-Individual teams manage their drivers, pit crew personnel, and promoters

Organizational Structure of NASCAR
Business Activities
Powerful, wealthy, and ever-growing organization

“The top nine NASCAR teams are worth $140 million on average, down 2% from last year (Richard Petty Motorsports ranks No. 9 with a value of $48 million). The average operating profit (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for these teams was $6.1 million last year, up 5% over 2012...The NASCAR sanctioning body added seven new sponsors last year, Sherwin Williams and Hewlett Packard and revenue rose in the high single digits, the first increase in three years.” (NASCAR’s Most Valuable Teams, Forbes)

Massive television contracts (10 year, $820 million)

TV viewership has hovered around 5.8 million viewers per race in three of the past four years (the anomaly was 2011 when viewership averaged 6.5 million)

New capital improvements - 218 foot wide video board at Texas Motor Speedway, which is the largest HD board in the world

Daytona International Speedway is undergoing a $400 million redevelopment, and DIS signed an 11-year deal with its first founding partner, Toyota, which will have naming rights for one of the five redesigned entrances.” (NASCAR’s Most Valuable Teams, Forbes)
SWOT Analysis
Advertising, corporate sponsorship, marketing, historic fan base/ clientele, experienced owners and employees, incredibly high television ratings, high merchandising revenue, increased celebrity status of certain drivers
Limited minority audience, limited geographic reach, competitive market, limited to American market compared to other sports, driver safety and injury/death history
Room to grow into minority sect of population for fans and drivers, global outreach and economy, increased profit margin, movement to more environmentally friendly fuel options, room for diversity growth and implementation of diversity training and education
Other professional sporting organizations- NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, NHL, increased cost of labor/ car parts, increase in need for more skilled employees, economy and potential recessions, environmental concerns and controversy, other racing organizations
Max Siegel
, a former sports and entertainment lawyer came into the business and has made a splash with diversity/ inclusion
“Siegel saw a chance to increase the sport’s fan base by getting women and people of color interested in racing through a program called Drive for Diversity.”
- Siegel identified that one of the largest gaps to inclusion rested in the idea of perception.
-"The best way to change cultural perception regarding NASCAR was to hit the road, speaking to church, schools, and civic groups to tell them about Drive for Diversity.” (Drive for Diversity, NPR)
Current Diversity Trends in NASCAR
-Unlike any other professional sports organization, NASCAR has always lacked diversity
-After Siegel created and produced BET's Changing Lanes TV show to help bring in minority drivers and give exposure to the sport, Siegel left NASCAR to start his own race team, Rev Racing
Revolution Racing
-Based in North Carolina, Siegel became first African-American to own a NASCAR franchise
“Rev Racing exists to provide competitive racecars to further develop the skills and capabilities of
all drivers
seeking opportunities in one of the world’s most competitive sports. We expect our drivers and team members to be coached, mentored, and developed, so they may one day enjoy the same success as the pioneers of the NASCAR industry.” (RevRacing.com, Mission)
-Siegel has placed 26 women and people of color throughout the NASCAR ranks
"It is easier to educate young fans and impressionable youth regarding the potential intrigue in fast cars and a career change, however, teaching adult fans who believe the sport to be filled with a history of racism and discrimination is a different story" (Siegel, NPR)
Became first African-American to win a national touring NASCAR race since 1963 with win at Martinsville in November, 2013

-Finished eighth in 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season point standings
-Three top-10 finishes and one pole in four career NASCAR Nationwide Series races
-Named one of 25 and under drivers to watch in 2012 by FoxSports
Six wins, three poles in first 24 NASCAR K&N Series races
-One of five young drivers to watch in ESPN the Magazine’s special NEXT issue
-Member of NASCAR’s “Next 9” class in 2011 and 2012
-Appeared in BET TV show “Changing Lanes” in 2010
-Rookie of the Year in 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
-Won his first start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2010
-Youngest winner, and first African American, to win in K&N Series history
-Member of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program 2010-11
-Signed as Joe Gibbs Racing development driver in 2009
-Three wins and 11 top fives in 23 Late Model races in 2009
-Registered 11 wins and 34 top 10s in 38 Legends starts in 2006
-Won 35 of 48 Bandoleros races entered in 2005

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace
-Wendell Scott was NASCAR's first minority to race in the 1950's
-Scott used old parts from competitors to built his cars
-Scott was told time and time again he could not race because of his skin color
-On Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African-American to win a NASCAR premier series event.
History of Minorities
There were no African-Americans in NASCAR from 1973 until Willy T. Ribbs started three races in 1986.
Scott accumulated 20 top-five finishes including eight of them in the same season he won his first career race, 1964. Scott also posted 147 top-10 finishes, more than 25
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014
Wallace is a symbol to many NASCAR fans of a new chapter for the sport. He symbolizes a chance for a minority driver to succeed and surpass any expectations. The impact of Wallace can be felt across the country by fans and drivers alike, as more diverse individuals are flocking to racetracks unlike anytime before. Hopefully, Wallace’s participation and continued successes will spark more diversity in the sport, and propel more African-American’s to engage in stock car racing
Regarding Bubba Wallace & His Recent Successes
“This win will draw attention to what NASCAR has been working on for some time now with its Drive for Diversity program -- to bring in young, minority drivers to diversify our sport, open doors to a new audience and break up what has been the ‘norm’ in NASCAR the last few decades. It’s a new day in NASCAR. It’s a real ‘red-letter day’ for the sport.” (Foxsports.com)
Darrell Waltrip regarding Bubba's June 2014 Victory
NASCAR was built on the roots of the Southern confederacy

is more of a "religious experience" rather than sporting event
Discrimination & Marginalization in NASCAR
Food for thought: 4 out of 5 NBA players are African American, 67% of NFL players are minorities, and last season, 23% of Major League Baseball players were born in Spanish-speaking countries (an increase of 40% from 1989).
“Hundreds of thousands of (
almost exclusively White
) NASCAR fans filter through super speedway venues that are cloaked with
Confederate flags, anti- immigrant banners and T-shirts, racist paraphernalia, and backlash narratives
. NASCAR fans are often lauded by marketing mavens and sociologists alike for their proclivity toward all forms of emblematization: adorning their bodies with corporate insignias, blanketing their automobiles with flags of sporting and national imageries, and conjuring up performative texts of a unique, overtly fanatical sporting citizenship. In this way,
gear, garb, banners, consumable wares, and the symbolic fabric of sporting Whiteness transform the racetrack space into a veritable village of racially coded signifiers
, a neo-Confederate “place” whereby Whiteness is normalized and made powerful and where identities of difference are pushed onto the margins.” (Joshua Newman, 485)
The Mixed Messages of Racism and Culture at a Typical Southern Race Track
Where do we draw the line between sport and society?
The simple allowance of certain branding and symbols is essentially giving off the idea that “all are not welcome.”

With or without actual non-acceptance, these signs and symbols are indications of the community at large-
white, non-inclusive and consumed by Southern roots of the confederacy
Symbols and Signs
"As the flag canvases both the geometric spaces outside the track and the corporeal spaces within, it infuses race and privilege into those spaces. In these spaces, White privilege reigns supreme." (Fieldnotes, 2007)
An aircraft flew high above a race track, pulling behind it a large banner that read:
“Don’t Forget Your Roots.”
“The flag seems to symbolically locate every fan or spectator within the boundaries of Southern heritage. By way of its omnipresence, it simultaneously offers an imaginary space through which the track and its surrounding areas can be connected to popular constructions of Southern Whiteness." (Fieldnotes, 2007)
Sample T-Shirt from Official NASCAR Race Day Vendor
10. Have to sit UPRIGHT when driving.
9. PISTOL won’t stay under front seat.

8. Engine drowns out the RAP MUSIC.

7. Pit crew can’t work on car while HOLDING PANTS up at the same time.
6. They keep trying to CARJACK Dale Jr.

5. POLICE CARS on track interfere with race.

4.No passenger seat for the HO.

3. There are no sponsors for CADILLAC.

2. Can’t wear HELMET SIDEWAYS.
1. When they crash their car, they can’t BAIL OUT and RUN.

“TOP TEN REASONS There’s No Black Race Car Drivers”
Ask Yourself? "Why would minorities want to pay money to attend race where this is sold?"
2005: Mauricia GRant hired as first African-American, female inspection officer in sport history

Recent Lawsuit Involving NASCAR & Former Employer
Two years later, she was fired
Filed a $225 million harassment lawsuit against NASCAR alleging "racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination."
Grant claims she was called
"Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba"
The lawsuit details twenty-three specific incidents of sexual harassment and thirty-four specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination over a two-year span.
In 2009, NASCAR went on to settle the lawsuit, and since then there has not been much extra talk. Even after the court case, NASCAR will not divulge a reason for why Grant was terminated in 2007.
Barriers to Inclusion:
Racetrack Locations
What do you notice about NASCAR track locations?
Who is the Targeted
Recently, NASCAR outlawed the use of the 1969 General Lee Dodge Charger seen in the Dukes of Hazard movie at a race in May due to its confederate ties...
Obstacles towards Inclusion
“At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to “political correctness” and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors…This is also an extraordinary insult to rural Southerners, who are NASCAR’s oldest and most fervent fan base, and it sends a message against inclusion and against the need for diversity. Many of us who are descended from ancestors who fought for the South see this as a crude dishonoring of our kinfolks and our heritage. Our ancestors were proud Americans who had fought for our Nation before the Civil War and have served honorably in every conflict since then.”
Former Georgia congressman Ben Jones exclaims:
What role does politics play in the diversification of sport?
Strategic Plan to Include Minorities in NASCAR
Despite the success of the Drive for Diversity program and Max Siegel’s work to help diversify the sport of NASCAR, there is much work to be done.
ALL communities must get exposure to sport
Youth must be the focus of marketing and new fanbase
Racist symbols must be eradicated
Community outreach and programming
Continue to train drivers young and bridge racial gap
Perpetuate the "Jackie Robinson effect"
Minority drivers will attract minority fans
NASCAR in the Classroom- A Proposed Seminar for Inclusion and Youth Exposure

Revolution Racing in conjunction with NASCAR and the chosen school district.

The Rev Racing Team will bring some of their drivers and pit crew members to an identified underfunded school in the city to teach, demonstrate skills, and mentor young middle and high school students, with the goal of giving them exposure to the sport of NASCAR, while teaching them basic life skills pertaining to cars, maintenance, safety, and responsibility. Through this program students will begin to understand a sport that is not otherwise accessible to them, and even if they never go on to participate in the Drive for Diversity program or have any additional interest in stock car racing, they will have learned valuable tools and gained insights on life skills pertaining to car ownership.

Six week pilot program during the school year when Rev Racing is able to send some of their team to the chosen location to run this program.

One chosen Boston Public High School (School will be chosen based on student essays as a school-wide competition)

Rev Racing and NASCAR will help to fund this program as a subsidiary from the Drive for Diversity Program that is already part of the NASCAR jurisdiction.

VISION Towards the Future...
Increasing Racial Minority Participation
NASCAR IS making strides working on their diversity and minority participation
Richard Lapchick has been working with NASCAR to broaden their outreach:

-co-chaired a 10-person Diversity council
-observed NASCAR programs aimed at promoting diversity
-engaged with NASCAR through the National Consortium for Academics and Sports
- spoken to the media regarding NASCAR's efforts to broaden their diversity
"The first time I met Brian France, in 1997, he told me he wanted NASCAR to look like America. That was not the image I had of what NASCAR was or what it wanted, but there was something about the way France said it that convinced me he meant it." (Richard Lapchick)
Teamwork Leadership Institute

-Program of the NCAS
-Provided training to the NBA, MLS and hundreds of college athletics departments.
-NASCAR has done more than any other league or college by training each of its employees in each of the last six years with a total investment of more than $500,000.
-They could have publicized these efforts as a way to change its public image, but NASCAR kept the training to itself.
- They did this because it was the
right thing to do
and the
only way
to effectively change a traditional culture.

"changing the public perception remains an uphill battle"- Lapchick

The goal is to make diversity and inclusion a part of what NASCAR does with its fans, vendors, sponsors and business partners.

In the early days of diversity management training, it was said that diversity was a moral imperative. Now we know it is a
business imperative. -
Need for Change:
Demographics of America
How is NASCAR preparing for change?
How is NASCAR's leadership preparing employees for such change?
"With other sports, when fans and the media have thought about diversity, the players have always been the original focus. Over decades, MLB, the NFL, the NBA, and later MLS and the WNBA have become sports with highly integrated player bases. Between 40 percent and 80 percent of the players in those leagues are players of color." - Lapchick
Will they be able to catch up to other professional sports?
-Changes in league office
-NASCAR has made progress in its headquarters hires with
two people of color and eight women among the 26 people on the board and as officers of the organization
Need for Cultural Change
"Inclusion efforts must not only change the numbers- must change the culture"
- Lapchick
Diversity management training has played a significant role in changing the culture:
eight-hour days with small groups of NASCAR employees openly discussing the challenging issues of diversity and inclusion.

No sport
has done more than NASCAR regarding such training.
The hiring in 2005 of Marcus Jadotte, who is now NASCAR’s vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, was the key.
In hard economic times, diversity programs are usually the first to go. At NASCAR, continuing with diversity efforts is a prominent signal that NASCAR is committed for the long haul.
NASCAR also has taken a leadership role with Beyond Sport United, the world’s largest effort to bring about positive social change through sport. France is the only commissioner who has
personally attended
the four major meetings in New York and London.
The future is promising...
Badenhausen, Kurt. The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams. Forbes, 2014.
Retreived from:http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2014/02/20/themost valuable-nascar-teams/

Bates, Karen Grigsby. Drive for Diversity: NASCAR’s Commitment to Race. NPR, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/ blogscodeswitch/2014/02/14/277024295/drive-for diversity-nascars-commitment-to-race

Bonkowski, Jerry. Darrell Wallace Jr. elated over Wendell Scott’s induction into Hall of Fame. NBCSports.com, 2014.

Diaz, George. Wendell Scott rises above racist roar to become hall of famer. Orlando Sentinel, 2014.

Donovan, Brian. NASCAR’s darkest chapter is its racism. The Charlotte Post, 2009.

Fordin, Spencer. Success of MLB Diversity Programs Clear in Draft. MLB.com, 2014. Retrieved from: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/success-of-major league-baseball-diversity-programs-clear-in draft?ymd=20140612&content_id=79433812&vkey=news_mlb

Lapchick, Richard. NASCAR’s chairman puts talk of diversity into action. Sports Business Journal, 2013.

Levinson, Meridith. From moonshine runners to Dale Earnhardt Jr. CIO.com, 2006

Rothaker, Rick. NASCAR aiming for younger, more diverise fans, quicker finishes. Charlotte Observer, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/10/11/4381683/nascar-aiming-for younger-more.html#.U5jIERZCblI

Vogl, John. Diversity Increasing, Minorities Shifting NHL Demographics. Buffalo News, 2013. Retreived from: http://www.buffalonews.com/20130626/diversity_increasing_minorities_shif ng_nhl_demographics.html

Zirin, Dave. Racism, Sexism, and Speed. Can NASCAR be saved from itself? Alternet, 2008. Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/story/91223racism,_sexism_and_speed%3A_can_na car_be_saved_from_itself

-Mackena Bell is in her fourth year with the program, third with Rev Racing. She’ll be competing in the Whelen All-American Late Model Series and the K&N Pro Series East in 2012.

-Jorge Arteaga returns for a second season, competing in the K&N Pro Series East in 2012. In 2011 he competed in the Late Model Series as well as the NASCAR Mexico Series, where he earned the Most Popular Driver award.

-Trey Gibson, also in his second year with the team, will return to the Whelen All-American Late Model Series in 2012; his team finished seventh in points in the Series’ South Carolina standings in 2011.

-Ryan Gifford is in his third season with the Drive for Diversity, competing in the K&N Pro Series East in 2012. In 2010, he became the first African-American in series history to win a pole.

-Bryan Ortiz is in his second season and will compete in the K&N Pro Series East in 2012; he’ll also compete in selected GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races.

-Kyle Larson is the rookie on the team and will compete in the K&N Pro Series East; in 2011, he became the first driver to win in the World of Outlaws sprint car series and in all three USAC divisions in one season.
Drive for Diversity
Progress Stories
"Drive for Diversity is the industry’s leading development program for minority and female drivers and crew members. Managed by Max Siegel Inc., the Drive for Diversity program currently supports drivers in two of NASCAR’s developmental series – the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Drive for Diversity also supports crew member candidates through a year-long pit crew training program. Crew members have gone on to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Diversity is NASCAR’s top corporate initiative. NASCAR has been instrumental in assisting Rev Racing in the development of the Drive for Diversity program. The success of the Drive for Diversity program is a result of support from key sponsors.

The Drive for Diversity program has been successful in creating meaningful opportunities for minority and female competitors. The program has seen continuous growth since its inception in 2004.

In 2012, 6 drivers competed for the Drive for Diversity program. Drive for Diversity drivers compete in nearly 50 events at NASCAR Home Tracks across the country each year." (revracing.net)
Drive for Diversity Mission
Major League Baseball:

What has worked for Other Professional Organizations?
Urban Youth Academy
, MLB's effort to expand baseball and scholarship opportunities to children in inner-city neighborhoods, produced seven draftees this season.
players were drafted after the 20th round, and they came from all over the country. Alex Real and Jorge Perez were taken from an Arizona RBI program, and Dazon Cole and Evin Einhardt were discovered from Detroit PAL RBI. Three players -- Darius Day, Anthony Justiniano and James Davison -- were taken from the fertile Chicago White Sox RBI program. There were also players drafted from RBI programs in Miami (Ronald Williams), Mississippi (Daniel Sweet) and Minnesota (Onas Farfan).
Breakthrough Series
-- a joint effort by MLB and USA Baseball -- was designed to expose a diverse group of prep prospects to professional scouts and collegiate recruiters. The series has yielded more than 100 players to the MLB Draft, and countless others that have enrolled in college programs.
Holds Annual Diversity Business Summit to recruit qualified minority employees
What Has Worked for Other Professional Organizations (continued)
National Hockey League (NHL)
The NHL sponsors programs in 38 North American cities to help children of all backgrounds learn to play hockey. More than 45,000 boys and girls have been exposed to the sport through Hockey is for Everyone
There were 69 minority players in the NHL this past season, including 44 who were on a season-opening roster. Of those 44, half were black, 11 were native/aboriginal (including the Sabres’ Cody McCormick), four were Hispanic, three were Asian, two were West Asian/Arab, one was Inuit and another was South Asian/Indian.
There are approximately 30 inner-city, volunteer organizations in various stages of development that receive support from the National Hockey League.
Since its inception, the NHL Diversity Program has provided more than 40,000 economically disadvantaged boys and girls of all ages with the opportunity to play hockey. But even those who have worked so diligently on the front lines acknowledge that there is still a long way to go.
Drive for Diversity Advertisement
Darrell "Bubba" Wallace on
Drive for Diversity
Introduction to Revolution Racing
What are your thoughts on NASCAR's future work in cultivating diversity?
David Letterman (snopes.com)
Full transcript