Per SportingNews, A federal judge has denied NASCAR's request to throw out a lawsuit by an aspiring driver who was invited to its 2005 Drive For Diversity combine but claims he was discriminated against when he never made it onto the track.
Michael Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, filed
the lawsuit in January 2010 claiming NASCAR and Access Communications,
which operated the diversity program, violated his civil rights. He is
asking for unspecified damages.
Rodriguez, a former state karting champion who was 15 at the time of the combine, never participated in the on-track portion of the program. He claims in the lawsuit that he was denied the opportunity to participate because his blue eyes and fair skin made him look “too Caucasian.”
Rodriquez also claims in the suit that he was twice referred to as a “poster boy” or “poster child” for the Ku Klux Klan by Access personnel.
NASCAR claims in its court briefs that Rodriquez was not allowed to drive because he was disoriented after complaining of a headache, possibly from bumping his head.
The case is set for trial beginning June 4 in Charlotte after NASCAR’s and Access Communications’ motion for summary judgment was denied.