NASCAR appoints Brandon Thompson to lead diversity efforts

The longtime NASCAR exec will spearhead diversity for racing's governing body.

(Credit: NASCAR)

NASCAR appointed industry veteran Brandon Thompson to be its vice president, Diversity and Inclusion in the newly created position. It was a further acknowledgment that change is necessary for the racing industry which is majority white.

READ MORE: Who is NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace?

The announcement was made Tuesday that Thompson will lead the sanctioning body’s strategy for diversity and inclusion, as well as programs and initiatives that will bring more diversity to the sport. Thompson explained in a press release that he was more than ready to expand on the current platform.

There will also be an effort to recruit top diversified clients who can contribute on and off the track.

READ MORE: NASCAR bans Confederate flag after demand by Bubba Wallace

“NASCAR has made significant progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion and we now have an opportunity to build on our momentum – both as a company and industry,” said Thompson. “It is with great passion and energy that we will champion our sport as accepting and welcoming of all individuals interested in being part of the NASCAR family.”

In 2016, Thompson oversaw the NASCAR Touring Series in 2016. He was also responsible for spearheading the launch of competition under one banner in 2020 after managing the integration of the NASCAR Pro Series into the ARCA Menards. His leadership also contributed to the growth of NASCAR’s international series and notably the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in Canada.

In this new position, Thompson will report to Jill Gregory, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Content Officer, and be based out of Charlotte, N.C.

“Brandon is an established and well-respected leader in our sport who will help NASCAR realize its vision in creating a more diverse industry,” said Gregory. “This new position and Brandon’s appointment reinforces our steadfast commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for our fans, industry and employees.”

Thompson will also be the steward of the existing team of NASCAR employees responsible for multicultural programs and initiatives including the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, as well as strategic alliances with the Institute for Sport and Social Justice and the Diversity and Inclusion Sports Consortium.

READ MORE: NASCAR stands for ‘Black Lives Matter’ in video

Dawn Harris is part of this team and has now been elevated to Managing Director, Diversity and Inclusion. She will help cultivate and strengthen NASCAR relationships with national and local civic organizations across the nation.

NASCAR was formed by bootleggers outrunning the police and federal agents during Prohibition. They’ve moved to assert themselves in the area of diversity releasing a video in support of Black Lives Matter.

Last week, Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone Black driver, said there was “no place” for the Confederate flags in the sport and NASCAR agreed. They are now banned from their races and properties. The symbol of slavery and racism has been a familiar sight at stock car events for more than 70 years.

“Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties,” NASCAR said in a statement.

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