A Minority Opinion
by Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor

May 17, 2003

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Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame and three-time Super Bowl winning coach, has teamed up with another Hall of Fame great; Reggie White for what is without a doubt a noble purpose.

Together, the two former NFL greats hope to open the doors to the world of NASCAR to young black males, or minorities are Gibbs was apt to say.

No one is against opening the doors to any minority group; NASCAR has worked diligently over the last decade to expand outside of its traditionally white market. However, it seems rather sad that both Gibbs and White would stop at young black males.

“My hope for this partnership is to possibly find a Tiger Woods for racing,” said White during the press conference announcing his joint effort with Gibbs. This partnership with Joe and everyone at Joe Gibbs racing will hopefully enable us to help find a talent out there who is a minority and just needs a break.”

What a shame White and Gibbs don’t consider females a minority in racing. There just happens to be a very talented young woman sitting on the sidelines because she lacks the backing to climb behind a wheel. Her name is Deborah Renshaw. Until now, her only drawback was her sex. Gibbs and White have just added another; Renshaw is white.

To be fair there are any number of definitions for the word minority. Brett Bodine is a financial minority in the Winston Cup garage. Carlos Contreras, of Mexican heritage constituted a Latin American minority on the Craftsman Truck Series, a series that also boast the only African-American driver in the upper echelons of NASCAR racing.

NASCAR, like the melting pot America is, is a sea of minorities. Are blacks under-represented making them the majority minority? Yes, they are. But, no more so than females, at least among the driver ranks.

The saving grace of the Gibbs and White partnership is the approach. Together the two NFL greats are hunting for a driver interesting in starting at the bottom – NASCAR’s Late Model division – where the opportunity for failure is a definite minority; which would truly be a first amongst the many diversity efforts that have failed over the past decade.

The author can be contacted stanc@autoracing1.com

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