Minority Group Pickets Track

By Dustin Long
Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 18, 2004
CONCORD — Eighteen protestors, many high school aged, marched outside Lowe’s Motor Speedway before Saturday night’s race for the National Association for Minority Race Fans.

The group first appeared at a track two weeks ago at Talladega. The group was not at Kansas Speedway last weekend.

Jirard Brown, director of the NAMRF, and Shawn Griffith, who is filming a documentary that depicts racism and other ills among NASCAR fans, also were at the track Saturday.

Brown said the group’s goals are to make race events safe for minority fans, more inviting to minority fans by reducing the number of Confederate flags flying above campers and to see results from NASCAR’s diversity program.

Brown said he would like to see NASCAR create an exchange program where fans turn in Confederate flags and receive a flag of their favorite team.

“That is a small step that can show that NASCAR does care about this issue and gives them an opportunity to make a difference with the atmosphere out there,” Brown said.

Griffith said he and Brown next will go to Washington D.C. on Monday for the National Minorities Supplier Development Council Conference.

Neither Brown nor Griffith would say if they would organize a protest at Martinsville Speedway, where the series heads for next weekend’s Nextel Cup race.

NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston said series officials have tried to meet with the group and were rejected, although the group says NASCAR cut off contact.

“When it comes to the facts, these individuals have been less than accurate,” Poston said. “They continue to operate under a cloak of secrecy. They use alias.”

Humpy Wheeler, president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, estimated minorities comprised about 2 percent of Saturday’s projected crowd of 150,000.