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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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NASCAR action admirable

NASCAR racing is one of the most popular sports in the country.

Yet not one driver in the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit is a minority.

This statistic seems rather unusual, given the diversity of other major sports.

Since NASCAR racing originated in the South, it has attached to it a negative stigma.

Some people think NASCAR is a racist sport.

We do not know whether or not the sport is racist, nor are we sure the sport is run by racists.

However, the steps they are taking indicate a shift in philosophy.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that NASCAR hired basketball Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson to be co-chairman of a new diversity committee.

Last weekend during the Nextel All-Star Challenge, singer Lenny Kravitz announced “Gentlemen, start your engines!” which is the equivalent of throwing out the first pitch in baseball.

The sport may have started in the South, but today it has widespread interest. According to NASCAR’s official website, about seven million fans attended Nextel (which last year was called Winston) Cup races.

One of the new diversity committee’s goals is to “identify and develop black, Hispanic and women drivers and crew members.”

This is a step in the right direction, and we commend NASCAR for their efforts to incorporate minorities into their sport.

Of course, it will take more than minority drivers and tire changers to diversify NASCAR.

For example, the NBA has a high percentage of African-American players, but they only have one black owner — Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson.

Minority issues will be sufficiently addressed when NASCAR integrates black, Hispanic, Asian and female individuals into administrative positions.

Simply put, they are not there yet.

Magic Johnson’s new job is only one of several changes to move NASCAR from the Bible Belt to mainstream America.

Nextel became the main sponsor, replacing Winston.

More and more races are being moved to larger markets — Chicago and California instead of Rockingham and North Wilkesboro.

We would be hard pressed to think NASCAR — or any entity, for that matter — is void of stereotypes.

Still, we applaud the approach NASCAR has taken in hopes of shedding the premonition that they are just a bunch of rednecks burnin’ rubber.

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