When it comes to increasing diversity, NASCAR is easily one of the most committed sports organizations in America. While it may not be very well known, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program or NDIP has helped usher in some of its current diverse talent. In it’s 18th year, the NDIP looks to continue its tradition of exposing underrepresented groups to the NASCAR sport in an effort to expand its audience.
This year, 14 former NDIP interns currently working in the industry full-time will help mentor the students throughout the 10-week, paid internship. Mentors include Brandon Thompson, senior director of NASCAR touring series; Lauren Houston, manager of NASCAR Multicultural Development; Pedro Mojica, Richard Petty Motorsports engineer; and Jusan Hamilton, manager of NASCAR racing operations and event management. Hamilton made history earlier this year by becoming the first African-American to serve as a race director for a NASCAR national series event.
In the past (and probably in the present for some) NASCAR has not been seen as very welcoming to non whites. Whether right or wrong, the sport has been generally seen as a “redneck” type of entertainment not willing to expand its audience. As per the diversity program, for the last almost 20 years, NASCAR has sought to change that. Whether for teams or up and coming sensation Bubba Wallace, diversity seems to be increasing for NASCAR.
To view the full list of internship participants, check out http://www.espn.com/jayski/cup/2017/story/_/id/19417618/nascar-diversity-internship-program-kicks-monster-energy-all-star-race-weekend