Is NASCAR on the wrong track in race relations? Improbable as it may seem, that’s the claim of a new $500 million lawsuit filed against the racing giant.
In the suit, Terrance Alton Cox III claims that his Diversity Motorsports Racing — founded “to market and promote African-American racecar drivers and African-American racing teams” has been continually shut down by NASCAR and other racing organizations.
Cox’s suit, filed Friday, claims that NASCAR “has intentionally interfered with the efforts of Cox and Diversity Motorsports to integrate the U.S. motorsports industry by perpetuating, condoning and actively participating in actions designed to humiliate, degrade, ostracize and exclude Cox.”
Among the claims: NASCAR has refused to help Cox and Diversity Motorsports secure corporate sponsors.
Not even Steve Harvey, bridger of all racial divides, has been able to alleviate the situation, according to Cox. The lawsuit claims that, when Harvey tried to team with Cox and Diversity to create a team called Steve Harvey Races 4 Education, NASCAR “advised Harvey that it would not sanction a race team associated with Cox and Diversity Motorsports.”
A spokesperson for NASCAR has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York, points out that African-Americans are not particularly well-represented among the NASCAR ranks; according to the complaint, none of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers listed on the organization’s website are even partially black, and none of the charter teams listed on the group’s websites are black-owned.
The suit is seeking $75 million in compensatory damages, and another $425 million in punitive damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.