The NASCAR auto racing body is facing a $500 million lawsuit for allegedly preventing black-owned teams and drivers from competing, including in the Sprint Cup Series. Terrance Cox and his company, Diversity Motorsports Racing LLC, filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in Manhattan against NASCAR, its parent company, International Speedway Corp, and 18 teams, according to court records.
“Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States,” the complaint said. “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 $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages. The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction requiring the defendants to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
According to Reuters, NASCAR said in a statement the lawsuit has no merit.
“Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders,” the organization said. “We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission.”
The plaintiffs allege NASCAR refused to let them field a team or join its Drive for Diversity program, and last year told them to cease contact. Citing NASCAR’s website, the plaintiffs said none of the 48 drivers in the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s top racing series, is black, and only one of the 18 teams has partial African-American ownership.
They also said only one driver in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series circuit is black. Ronald Paltrowitz, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said any funds would go toward groups that the plaintiffs sponsor to boost minority participation in motorsports.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.