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NASCAR recently announced the appointment of the new president of the Phoenix Raceway.
Phoenix native Latasha Causey will take on the role of the leader of the Arizona race track. With her new position, Causey will become the first Black woman in NASCAR history to become a track president. She’ll also be just the second woman to assume the position.
Causey will be taking over from Julie Giese who’ll be moving on to work on the Chicago Street Course race weekend in July.
Throughout her career, Causey has held positions as the vice president and community development officer at Bell Bank in her state. She’s also previously worked for the United Services Automobile Association, a Fortune 500 company, at their North Phoenix Campus where she led the local group and organized volunteer efforts.
“I have been fortunate to call The Valley ‘home’ my entire life, and I could not be more grateful to become the next leader of Phoenix Raceway,” Causey said in a news release. “NASCAR is a sport that brings people together, and as a result, Phoenix Raceway plays a key role in showcasing our great community to visitors across the country every year.”
“I cannot wait to help build upon the great work that’s already been done in making this facility one of the true gems in sports and entertainment,” she added.
While the newest appointment marks a step forward when it comes to diversity in NASCAR, the sanctioning body has been associated with a history of racism. Just this year, in April, driver Denny Hamlin began sensitivity training following an anti-Asian “Family Guy” meme he posted to comment on the performance of fellow driver Kyle Larson, who is half Asian, during the Talladega Superspeedway.
Larson himself was also suspended and went to sensitivity training in 2020 for using a racial slur in an iRacing event. Six months later, he was reinstated and, in 2021, Larson was officially competing in NASCAR’s competition again.
Also back in 2020, the F.B.I. got involved when a noose was seen hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series at the time and currently one of the three Black drivers who race nationally for NASCAR.
The racism in the sport’s history extends to the outside of the garage as well. The Confederate flag has often been flown by fans at competitions.
On June 10, 2020, NASCAR implemented a ban- two days after Wallace called for the creation of said ban.
“I just did what I felt was right and what needed to be said and done and stood behind that proudly,” Wallace said per The Associated Press. “To outsiders looking in, they think it takes a lot of courage, but it’s just another day to me.”