Nascar’s Diversity Program? Take a look at open wheel!

Nascar has been touting it’s “Diversity Program” for several years now.  Has anyone seen an influx of women, African Americans or Hispanics into the sport?  Not me.

Now, look at open wheel racing, especially IndyCar and its little sister the Firestone Indy Lights Series.

DaytonaDanicaPatrick-1.jpg We all know Danica Patrick of course.  She however was just one of FOUR women that started the IndyCar season opener just over a week ago in Brazil. 



Milka Duno

There was Milka Duno.




Simona photo

Simona De Silvestro 



Ana Photo

and Ana Beatriz Figueredo who happened to finish 13th. (Danica finished 15th)




Sarah Fisher-photo

Sarah Fisher will  race in the IndyCar Series this year on the ovals but she is also a team owner.


That’s five women in IndyCar!

Pippa Mann Photo

Now in the Firestone Indy Lights, Pippa Mann is in her second year. 


Carmen Jorda photo

And add in Carmen Jorda.



7 women in the top two open wheel series in the United States.  Nascar has only Billy Jo Cobb trying to race fulltime in the Nascar Camping World Truck Series.

I haven’t even got into all the nationalities and ethnic backgrounds of the drivers in open wheel both female and male.

Maybe it’s time for Nascar to give more than just lip service to its diversity program and put its money and weight where it’s mouth is.


A sad day in auto racing

logo You may or may not know this, but the Atlantic Racing Series has gone dark.  Yes, the economy has stopped cold one of the great developmental racing series of the last 30 years or so.  You can read more here.

I got to know the Atlantic Series very well during my days with CART Radio.  I saw many of the young drivers that were on their way up the ladder such as Indianapolis 500 winner and Atlantics champion Buddy Rice, Patrick Carpentier, A.J. Allmedinger, Alex Barron, Scott Goodyear, Jimmy Vasser, Jacques Villeneuve and Danica Patrick to just name a few.

The Atlantic Series was very rich in its history and diversity of drivers.  It was a proving ground that gave many young racers the skills they needed to be at the top of their craft.  Now, that series is in mothballs.

I’m very saddened by this but it is just a sign of the times.  With the economy the way it is worldwide, I’m afraid more and more of the secondary series will disappear just like the old Trans-Am Series did and who can forget Can-Am which was an unbelievably great series.

Hopefully the Atlantics will return.  I know there are many like me that are wishing the same thing.  Until then, we have our memories.

(NOTE-Longtime Atlantics Communications Director Anne Roy will be a guest on Pit Pass USA Tuesday 3-16 at 8P ET Listen here )