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NASCAR'S Diversity committee meets to discuss initiatives, future steps  

February 10, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- 2004 saw advancement for NASCAR's on-track, off-track and urban marketing diversity initiatives, which are carrying over into 2005. NASCAR's Executive Steering Committee for Diversity held its inaugural meeting and discussed existing diversity initiatives and future steps to further diversify the sport.

The committee is co-chaired by NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Johnson and Pyne have worked together since last May to identify and select the members of the committee.

Each participant's experience and leadership in the area of diversity is an indication that NASCAR will be getting direction and advice from experts who successfully implemented diversity solutions in their own business.

The Executive Steering Committee is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Gary Azar -- consultant, The Coca-Cola Company

  • Ron Burkle -- Managing Partner, The Yucaipa Companies

  • Kawanna Brown -- President & COO, Magic Johnson Enterprises

  • Greg Calhoun -- President, Calhoun Enterprises

  • Ray Evernham -- President & CEO, Evernham Motorsports

  • Earvin Johnson -- Chairman & CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises

  • Tom Kelly -- Executive Vice President & COO, Nextel Communications

  • Don Knauss -- President & COO, The Coca-Cola Company

  • Richard Lapchick -- President & Executive Director of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports, University of Central Florida

  • Mark Lazarus -- President, Turner Entertainment Group

  • Antonio Perez -- President & COO, Eastman Kodak Company

  • George Pyne -- COO, NASCAR

  • Mark Schweitzer -- Senior Vice President, Marketing, Nextel Communications

  • Tish Sheets -- Director of Diversity & Special Projects, NASCAR

    NASCAR is committed to making its sport -- on and off the racetrack -- look more like America. No other issue is more important for NASCAR to succeed and to grow.

    NASCAR is proud of the numerous activities in the area of diversity planned for 2005. NASCAR is not where it wants to be in terms of diversity, however, NASCAR is aggressively promoting diversity at all levels of our sport. The following is an update of some of the initiatives supported by NASCAR.

    On-track initiatives

    Drive for Diversity: The Drive for Diversity program, run by Access Marketing & Communications, seeks to develop diverse and female drivers and crew members. In 2004, the program's inaugural year, five drivers earned a place in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and six crew members earned jobs in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Much of the success in 2004 is a result of support for the program by key sponsors and involved team owners. In 2005, as many as eight drivers will participate in Drive for Diversity, and the crew member program will be doubled from six to 12 participants.

    Joe Gibbs / Reggie White Driver Development Program: Joe Gibbs Racing and NFL Hall of Fame member Reggie White formed a partnership that identifies and assists minorities who have a desire to get into auto racing. Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola will return in 2005 for their second season in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series as part of the development program.

    Bill Lester: Bill competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004 with Bill Davis Racing. Toyota has been a great supporter of Bill Lester and many of NASCAR's diversity initiatives. NASCAR anticipates Bill's fourth full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005 with Bill Davis Racing.

    Off-track initiatives

    NASCAR's Diversity Internship Program: The 2004 program completed a successful summer with 30 interns working throughout the industry with NASCAR, tracks, teams, media partners and sponsors. NASCAR is very pleased with the outcome of the 2004 program and looks forward to a new class of interns in 2005.

    Urban Youth Racing School: NASCAR supports the Urban Youth Racing School, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that provides inner-city youths, from ages 8-18 years, with the opportunity to learn about motorsports. In 2004, the UYRS students, with support from Craftsman, were "team members" during All-Star race weekend in Charlotte, gaining knowledge and first hand experience from teams. These students were so well received and their assistance was so appreciated that they were invited to participate as "team members" for the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway in September. The UYRS also traveled to North Carolina race shops and NASCAR's R&D Center for a week-long educational tour in August. The two UYRS points champions will be recognized in a pre-race ceremony before the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Daytona.

    Supplier Diversity Program: NASCAR recently developed a supplier diversity and minority vendor program to foster a more diverse supplier base. The program invites women and minority-owned businesses to be considered equally as subcontractors and suppliers for all goods and services purchased at NASCAR. NASCAR is a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and is working closely with the Florida Minority Supplier Development Council to further develop the program.

    NASCAR College Tour Presented by Coca-Cola:- In this joint effort, NASCAR and The Coca-Cola Company visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to build awareness about the motorsports industry and its exciting career opportunities. The College Tour wrapped up the 2004 program at the University of Miami during the season-ending Homestead race week. NASCAR looks forward to a new schedule of schools during the 2005 NASCAR College Tour.

    Scholarships: NASCAR provides funding for scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. We provide funding for scholarships to these institutions to help nurture new talent and raise awareness of the industry's efforts to increase diversity and attract the best minds in America. This includes the United Negro College Fund and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

    Marketing initiatives

    Marketing & Consumer Awareness: NASCAR launched urban marketing outreach efforts in Atlanta and Los Angeles in 2004. During the spring Atlanta race last year, a test program was developed and implemented. The "Welcome to Atlanta NASCAR Weekend" was so successful that plans are currently taking shape to recreate this theme of awareness and opportunity for urban communities.

    In Los Angeles, many events surrounding the September race weekend brought awareness of NASCAR and generated excitement within the urban communities. One example is the "Bud Hispanic Heritage Night" at the LA Galaxy game. Earvin "Magic" Johnson helped NASCAR's awareness efforts at his area businesses, including displaying show cars and NASCAR information at his movie theatres and Starbucks outlets in South Central L.A. His T.G.I. Fridays hosted NASCAR "watch parties" for the "Pop Secret 500."

    NASCAR continues to support a wide range of events and causes that are supported by a cross section of civil rights organizations across America.

    Committees and councils

    In addition to developing and supporting these important initiatives that encourage diversity throughout the industry, NASCAR has an internal Diversity Council and an Executive Steering Committee for Diversity, co-chaired by Earvin "Magic" Johnson and NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne, to promote diversity at all levels of the sport and create meaningful opportunities for women and ethnically diverse people both on and off the track.

    Source: NASCAR.COM


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