Hailing from the Great Peach State, Terrance Cox III filed suit against NASCAR, its parent company and eighteen of its race teams. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on September 16, 2016, alleges that Mr. Cox’s, “attempts to make NASCAR more racially diverse were rebuffed by the sanctioning body.” According to the complaint, NASCAR encouraged potential corporate sponsors not to support Mr. Cox, who operates Diversity Motorsports Racing. In the world of stock car racing, a lack of corporate sponsorship is essentially a team’s death sentence. Mr. Cox asserts that NASCAR’s alleged racial discrimination has prevented black-owned teams and drivers from competing in the sport. According to Reuters, Mr. Cox is seeking $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages as well as an injunction requiring NASCAR to, “fully integrate the African-American community.”
NASCAR has responded with an official statement noting that they believe the lawsuit to have no merit. As reported by ESPN, a spokesperson for the association stated that diversity is an important issue for the association, both on and off the track. NASCAR plans to fight the lawsuit noting that they have, “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.” As a result, they believe Mr. Cox’s endeavor to be a, “publicity-seeking legal action,” and plan to assert their own claims against Mr. Cox for defamation.
Nick Aquart is a Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2019).