NASCAR was hit with a $500 million federal lawsuit accusing the racing giant of discriminating against black-owned teams and drivers.
The lawsuit was filed by Terrance Cox III, who operates Diversity Motorsports Racing. The lawsuit also claimed the comedian Steve Harvey wanted to create a racing team with Diversity Motorsport, a claim that Harvey strongly denied. Cox says "NASCAR motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States."
The lawsuit names 20 defendants including Richard Petty Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports.
In the lawsuit, Cox claims NASCAR "engaged in unlawful intentional racial discrimination by refusing to sanction African-American owned racing teams ... and by refusing to hire African-American drivers for its racing teams."
Currently, there is only one African-American who races among its three national series, Darrell Wallace Jr., who competes in the Xfinity Series.
NASCAR said that "diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders," and called the lawsuit "meritless."
"NASCAR embraces all individuals interested and involved in our sport, whether as partners, fans, competitors or employees, and there is no merit to this lawsuit," a NASCAR statement said. "NASCAR has a long-standing history of investing in diversity efforts including the NASCAR Drive for Diversity, NASCAR Diversity Internship and NASCAR Diversity Pit Crew Development programs. ... We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission."
– Scooby Axson