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Charlotte Area News

Joe Gibbs On Hall Of Fame Induction And Diversity In NASCAR

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Gwendolyn Glenn
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Racing owner Joe Gibbs inducted in 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame

Martin Truex was the winner of NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600 Sunday night at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He overcame an early collision and made a four-wide pass on a restart with four laps to go to take the lead.  Truex also won the Coca Cola 600 in 2016.  He gave the Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing a big victory after Gibbs was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Sunday.

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Credit Gwendolyn Glenn
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Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex's car getting tires changed after blowing a tire and hitting a wall before going on to win the Coca Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls as the head coach of the Washington professional football team, says he felt humbled by the induction.

“It’s a thrill for me but it’s all the people surrounding me who make it happen,” Gibbs said. “I get pushed up front but it’s all the people at Joe Gibbs Racing who started with me 27 years ago—my wife, son, and my son who died in January. I think about all those people. They did all the work.”

Leading up to the race, last week NASCAR held a diversity pit crew combine in Concord. A dozen college athletes of color competed for a chance to train as pit crew members. NASCAR has been criticized over the years for not having a diverse workforce. The combine is part of NASCAR’s efforts to change that through more intense recruiting and training programs. There’s also an internship program to attract more students of color to other areas of racing – from public relations to computer science. Gibbs says more needs to be done but thinks progress is being made in terms of diversity in the sport, especially with his organization.

“For us we have a long history of what we’ve done,” Gibbs said. “Daniel Suarez is at our place, Aric Almlirola, we had a program originally with Reggie White that was a diversity program and we’ve been heavily involved in it. Our sport is for everyone. We have a shop with 600 people and this NASCAR world is looking for qualified people, it wants diversity and it’s a huge opportunity for a lot of people.”

 

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Credit Gwendolyn Glenn
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NASCAR officials say they are making aggressive efforts through internships and other training to hire more people of color