April 16, 2010
From The Complex, former stomping grounds of Racing While Black co-author Andrew Simon:
Even if you’re not an avid racing fan, we’re sure you’ve caught the grand oval spectacle know as NASCAR at least once in your life. After all, behind the NFL, it’s the second most-viewed sports league in the country. However, there’s one major difference between NASCAR and the rest of America’s pastimes: a startling lack of racial diversity. Leonard T. Miller’s book explains why.
Racing While Black tells the exhilarating and fascinating story of how the Miller Racing Group, an auto-racing team started by Leonard’s father, Leonard W. Miller, became the first black-owned team to win a NASCAR track championship. Miller and Simon give you a firsthand account of all the wins and losses that come with creating a racing team, along with the extreme prejudices that minorities must overcome just to make it to the track. We follow Miller as he searches for sponsors and tries to find engine and part suppliers that won’t give him sub-par equipment just because he’s black. We get to see the pressure that goes along with being the only black people in an all-white world. Even more importantly, the book is a call for a better system of getting young blacks and other minorities into the world of auto racing.
Is it any easier for minorities to get into auto racing in 2010? No, not really. But as we learn from the Miller Racing Group, with a lot of hard work, dedication and little bit of swag in your step, it’s possible.