Letter to the Editor – NASCAR diversity closing in on the finish line

In response to the article by Patrick Creaven, “NASCAR needs its Tiger Woods” in the July 27 online edition of the Daily Forty-Niner, I am a white-collar professional and former Cal State Long Beach student who never thought he would find himself a fan of NASCAR. One day, sitting bored at home with nothing to watch but the last 10 laps of a NASCAR Superspeedway race, I discovered that near 200 mph racing, with lots of bumping and banging, is actually pretty exciting. I agree with Creaven that NASCAR needs more diversity, but he should be aware that NASCAR is already working toward this.

Creaven should also be aware that NASCAR will have its Tiger Woods in 2007. That driver is none other than Juan Pablo Montoya, a world-champion F1 racer out of Columbia who is making the jump to NASCAR, pay cut and all. He may even run some Busch series races this year. Montoya is widely considered one of the best racers in the world and his jump to NASCAR has been met with intense excitement from fans. Yes, those white fans who you’d love to stereotype as racists have embraced this Latino superstar racer.

Also, be aware that NASCAR has a black driver. Bill Lester has run two Nextel Cup races this year and he’s a regular in the Craftsman Truck Series. He will likely become a full-time Cup driver and will win races.

Danica Patrick will also likely go to NASCAR by the end of this decade. She would be the first woman in the Cup series. Erin Crocker, a woman, runs regularly in the truck races. I’ve seen a few bigoted remarks about having a woman in NASCAR made by anonymous idiots on the Internet. But overall, everything I’ve read or heard about these changes in NASCAR demographics is positive. Ultimately, only one color really matters in this expensive sport: green!

– Jason Kosareff, Long Beach

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