NASCAR: Future brighter than ever for diversity?

The initial goal of NASCAR’s diversity program was to bring growth of ethnicity and equality, but it has done far more than that.

Let’s take a trip back in time. The year is 2004, and NASCAR has just implemented a new program that is designed to bring attention to minority drivers.

The initial thought was that the program was needed to bring growth of ethnicity and equality. Little did anyone know that the sport would get more than a little Botox around the eyebrows.

Now back to good old 2021, when we now have plenty of culture in NASCAR.

Grammy Award-winning musical artist Pitbull is co-owner of Trackhouse Racing Team along with former driver Justin Marks. New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara is the Growth and Engagement Advisor, a role that was only recently added by the sport.

NBA legend Michael Jordan, the most famous name in all of sports, is the co-owner of 23XI Racing along with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, and they have an African-American driver in Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the #23 Toyota.

When I think of diversity in NASCAR, I think of Wendell Scott. Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, not for his career wins or titles, but for his imposing will that he would not be denied an opportunity to do what he loved because of the color of his skin. He paved the way for drivers who have since gone through the diversity program following its inception.

This isn’t where the diversity train stops, however.

NASCAR is always looking at ways to grow the fanbase in every direction, including both inside and outside of the United States. Think about where NASCAR was 20 years ago, compared to where it is today. A new fan gained, no matter what race or gender, improves the overall future of the sport for years to come.