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NASCAR Celebrates Hispanic National Heritage Month

NASCAR has partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to raise money to support math and science programs for underprivileged Latino kids. It’s all a part of their increased push into Mexico and other Latino markets. Mexicans have always loved racing, especially Indy and formula one, but NASCAR was but a dream for many years South of the Border. That is until 2004 when NASCAR realized how lily White they were and implemented their “Drive For Diversity Program” to try and help Latino drivers get to the top. It’s like Affirmative Action for driving around a big oval at huge speeds.

Mexico in particular has been responsive. The sport has been gaining traction, (ha!), there for the last 15 years or so and a couple of really nice tracks have been built including the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed in Puebla. German Quiroga is one of NASCAR’s rising Latino stars. By rising I mean you sometimes see him on the track and when he does he usually places. He’s started his first full year driving in the Camping World Truck series. The truth is that 10 years into their “Drive for Diversity” program, NASCAR is still very very White. Quiroga says,

“In my opinion, I think NASCAR hasn’t done enough to bring up a proper Latin or Mexican driver. It’s a huge thing missing from NASCAR, having a recognizable young Mexican driver. They have to treat it as an investment for the future. You can’t expect a young driver to come in and be successful right away. You have to pave the way for them to get there.”

You have to wonder if it’s a conscious decision at the NASCAR organization or if it is just part of a deeper prejudice against Latino drivers? Perhaps NASCAR thinks that its die-hard fans, mostly White suburban dads from Red states, aren’t ready for Latino drivers in the big time? You only have to look at baseball to know that is BS. In the 40’s and 50’s, Latino baseball players could only play in the Minor or Negro leagues. Now the players on most baseball teams have more Spanish last names than not. Sports may be the only place where people don’t care as much about what your heritage anymore but about whether or not you win. Give the NASCAR dads a chance, yo.

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