It was just last year that Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time Black racer, helped get the Confederate flag banned at the company’s three series. Lenny Miller, author of the book “Racing While Black,” describes his family’s experience with NASCAR, and explains why racism is still a large part of the culture of motor sports.
“Nothing has changed and I wouldn’t expect it to change. NASCAR has always been politicized as a sport,” says Lenny Miller, author of “Racing While Black”
Listen: Author Lenny Miller on his experience as Black man in the world of NASCAR.
Lenny Miller is the former co-owner and president of the Miller Racing Group and author of “Racing While Black: How an African-American Stock Car Team Made Its Mark on NASCAR.” He says there aren’t enough opportunities for Black drivers to engage competitively in the sport because acquiring sponsorships is so challenging. What’s more, Miller says, achievements and accolades of Black drivers have been swept under the rug or forgotten.
When Miller and his father had a NASCAR team of their own, he says their sponsors would barely cover their costs for the year.
“We were putting more of our own money than GM at that time into the car,” he says, adding that sponsors in general are skeptical that a racing team with Black leadership can succeed. “Racing is very technical, it’s very expensive. They’re not comfortable that you can manage the team,” he says.
Miller says the fans are a problem too, as the vast majority of comments on articles about Bubba Wallace have been vitriolic. “Nothing has changed and I wouldn’t expect it to change. NASCAR has always been politicized as a sport,” he says.