NASCAR hit with a half billion dollar racial discrimination lawsuit
Daytona Beach — An aspiring African-American race car owner is hauling NASCAR to court over discrimination.
On Friday, September 16, just before 17:00, Terrance Cox and his company, Diversity Motorsports Racing LLC, filed a lawsuit in US district court in Manhattan – where NASCAR used to host its Sprint Cup postseason banquets until the mid-2000s – against the sanctioning body, its parent company, International Speedway Corporation, and 18 teams, according to court records.
In addition, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction requiring the defendants to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
Through his army of lawyers, Brian France, the president of the sport, told Chicago; New York City and Orlando, Fla. media the lawsuit is without any merit.
“Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders,” said Mr. France and NASCAR. “We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission.”
The plaintiffs said they decided to serve NASCAR with the lawsuit after the sanctioning body refused to let them field a team or join its Drive for Diversity program, and last year told them to cease all contact.
Culling information from NASCAR’s own website, the plaintiffs said that only one of the more than 130 drivers from the three major touring divisions is African-American. However, none of the 48 drivers in the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s top racing series, is African-American, and only one of the 18 teams has partial African-American ownership. They also said the lone African-American driver in NASCAR is presently in the xfinity Series – Mr. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Junior.
“Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States,” said the complaint. “NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation.”
The lawsuit seeks roughly $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages.
Ronald Paltrowitz, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said any funds would go toward groups that the plaintiffs sponsor to boost minority participation in motorsports.
Diversity Motorsports was founded by Mr. Cox, who is chief executive officer, and Bob Schacht of Bob Schacht Motorsports, and is based in Mooresville, N.C. – where NASCAR has an office. NASCAR is headquartered in Daytona Beach and also has a Manhattan office.
[UPDATE @ 14:38: TMZ has reported that NASCAR plans to countersue Mr. Cox for defamation.]
Image of Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 via NASCAR