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NASCAR and MotorSports – From a Queer Perspective

Queers4Gears.com - NASCAR and MotorSports – From a Queer Perspective

Commentary: IMS Statement Falls Short

credit: IMS/IndyCar Twitter

credit: IMS/IndyCar Twitter

Earlier today, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles issued a statement about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Law – a.k.a “Turn away the gays.”

Boles said, “For 105 years the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has engaged millions who want to celebrate the true spirit of American racing.  IMS will continue to warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports – employees, participants and fans.”  adding, “I can also confirm that this is the position of all Hulman & Company organizations, including INDYCAR. We welcome everyone.”

This statement did not go far enough.

Boles’ statement didn’t even mention the RFRA legislation – it was boilerplate “we welcome everyone” PR.

By comparison, in a statement issued by NASCAR, the sanctioning body said it was “disappointed” by the legislation and that they would not “not embrace or participate in exclusion or intolerance.”   In an interview with ESPN, NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the NCAA wants to hold its championship in an “inclusive” environment and “right now we’re not sure that we have that” in Indiana. “We’re very serious about our core values and we want to make sure we can operate in an environment that is supportive of those values, so this is a very serious issue for us.”

If they truly disagree with this law, the Speedway and its board of directors have an opportunity to let their voices be heard. The Indy 500 leads the US in economic impact, contributing $727 million dollars to Indiana’s economy.

In addition to that economic impact, the speedway and the board have a direct line to the Governor’s Mansion.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its Board of Directors contributed over $67,000 directly to Governor Mike Pence. IMS ($5,000), Andre B. Lacy ($24,700), Michael L. Smith ($17,400), John F. Ackerman ($11,000), James T. Morris ($5,000), Anton “Tony” George ($2,000), Nancy L. George ($2,000) [source: followthemoney.org]   

When checks like this are written to politicians – they typically return your call.  IMS and the board have a unique opportunity here – more so than some band canceling its show or an outraged fan venting on social media.

While IMS will welcome gay race fans – what about local hotels or restaurants? This law would allow those fans to be turned away.

If IMS truly wants to “warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports” then they should take the lead in having this archaic law repealed.

IMS missed an opportunity to take the lead in demanding equality for every American…… race fan or not, gay or not….. equality for all.

NASCAR Statement on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law

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NASCAR issued a statement about the controversial new Religious Freedom Law in Indiana – home of the Brickyard 400 at IMS.

“NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.”

NASCAR has not been silent on similar issues in the past.  In 2014, before a race in Phoenix, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar law that passed in Arizona. At that time NASCAR said, ““We are pleased with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of SB1062. NASCAR actively strives to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the motorsports industry. NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, national origin, age, color, disability, religion, or other factors which deny the essential humanity of all people.”

In 2013 when driver Nelson Piquet Jr posted a homophobic slur on social media, the sanctioning body fined the driver and released a statement saying , “Nelson Piquet Jr. recently communicated an offensive and derogatory term that cannot be tolerated in our sport. NASCAR’s Code of Conduct explicitly spells out in the 2013 rule book our position regarding the use of disparaging terms. We expect our entire industry to abide by this Code.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Statement on Contreversal Indiana Law

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway released a statement today in regards to Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Law.”

Speedway President Doug Boles told Queers4Gears, “For 105 years the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has engaged millions who want to celebrate the true spirit of American racing.  IMS will continue to warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports – employees, participants and fans.”  adding, “I can also confirm that this is the position of all Hulman & Company organizations, including INDYCAR. We welcome everyone.”

 

Out of the Tunnel 105

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This week Matt Weaver from Popular Speed joins Adam and I to talk about a wild day at Martinsville….  we also took the opportunity to talk about a lot of issues that have propped up this season.

I really love to get Matt on the Podcast, because he disagrees with me sometimes and he’s usually right!

You can listen to this week’s show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes:  click here to subscribe and listen

2) right here on Q4G – just click play 

3) or you can stream the show directly to your device by clicking here

Out of the Tunnel 104

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Adam and I recap the “action” from Atlanta, Kurt has a road to recovery and another week spent nailing NASCAR and the tracks for lacking SAFER barriers.

All that plus – whats up our butts.

You can listen to the show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes – click here to listen on iTunes

2) right here on Q4G – just click play 

3) or you can download the show directly to your device by clicking here

Out of the Tunnel 103

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The Out of the Tunnel Podcast is back for a new season in 2015.

This week Adam and I recap all the action from Speedweeks in Daytona – and why, for once, was I not mad that JoLo won?

We yell at NASCAR for a lack of SAFER barriers and talk about the new rules package that debuts in Atlanta this week.

All that, plus as always – what’s up our butts?

You can listen to show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes:  click here to listen on iTunes (be sure to rate and subscribe)

2) right here on Q4G – just click play  

3) or you can stream a show directly to your device by clicking here

Out of the Tunnel 102

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It’s the LAST show of the season!

Adam and I recap the race from Homestead and the crowning of our new Champion.

Who stole Adam’s football?

All that plus – as always: What’s up our butts!

You can listen to the show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes:  click here to listen and subscribe

2) right here on Q4G: just click play 

 

3) or you can stream the show directly to your device by clicking here

Out of the Tunnel 101

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This week we recap my weekend at PIR as the final four was decided.  Did Ryan Newman make a dirty move and who are Adam and I picking to win the Sprint Cup in Homestead next weekend.

PLUS – interviews with Crash Gladys from The Speed Freaks, Mojo Nixon from Manifold Destiny and Lewis Franck from Reuters.

All that, and of course, what’s up our butts.

You can listen to the show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes:  click here to listen on iTunes

2) right here on Q4G – just click play

 

3) or you can stream the show directly to your device

The Phoenix Gaynalysis – 8 Men Enter

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8 men enter.  Only 4 leave. Sounds like a fun night!

Kevin Harvick had one job to do….and he did it, happily winning the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.   The driver of the #4 Budweiser did it commanding fashion, leading 264 of 312 laps.

The win locks Harvick into the Final Four Spots that will decide the Championship next week in North Cuba.  No other driver had anything for the #4 as Harvick lept to a commanding lead on every restart – despite a record 12 cautions giving others ample opportunities.

The other three spot locks were more fluid than a baby’s diaper as the race wore on in front of a sold out crowd in the desert.

Locking in are Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.   Knocked out contention were Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth.

The 4th spot was yanked out of Jeff Gordon’s hand on the last lap when Ryan Newman  “moved” Kyle Larson in Turn 4 – sealing his chance to compete for the Sprint Cup.

Gordon squared off “West Side Story Style” with Brad Keselowski last week in Texas after Bad-Brad made a move to try and steal the victory.  When asked about Newman making a similar move today to knock him out of contention, Gordon said, “it made last week even tougher to swallow,” adding, “if (that move) is acceptable then, it is acceptable now.”

Newman made it into the final four by the skin of his neck. For his part, on bumping Larson, Newman said, “I did what I had to do, I don’t like racing like that. I didn’t take him out. He still finished the race. In a day or two, he’ll understand.”

Never give up!  It is a lesson we were all taught as a kid but a lesson that Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano really took to heart today.

On lap 32 Hamlin got a flat tire during a pit stop when the valve stem was knocked off by the air gun. The odd incident caused Denny to pit a second time and lose a lap.  Many wrote off the #11 team but they fought back for a 5th place finish.

Logano’s day seemed to run downhill several times.  On lap 124, during a pit stop the #22 team was penalized for removing equipment from the pit box.  Starting in the back of the field, it didn’t take long for the lightning quick Harvick to put Logano a lap down.  On lap 212 when Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer made contact, Joey went low to avoid the #18 and in the process contacted Danica Patrick.

The contract resulted in a tire rub on the #22.  After the race Logano said, “We (Danica) hit pretty hard but it didn’t knock the toe out. When NASCAR threw the red flag we had time to talk about the damage on the radio and for me to calm down.”  The #22 quickly pulled the fender out and kept Logano in contention.  JoLo fought to the end and finished P6, sealing his place in the final four on points.  His teammate, Brad Keselowski, didn’t fair so well at PIR.

Former Cup Champion Keselowski, who had the most wins of any driver this season needed to win again at PIR to grab one of those final four spots. He finished fourth – but that was three spots short.  The #2 had several shots at Harvick on multiple restarts but Miller Light had nothing for Budweiser today.

“We were just a little bit short,” said Keselowski. “Kevin was really, really strong all day long. We just weren’t strong enough to win. We were strong enough to run second or third, and ended up fourth. A lot to be proud of, just not enough.”

Now, a short message to all of the Chase Haters filling my timeline at the moment.  STFU!

Yeah, I get it.  If you’re a Keselowski or Gordon fan you are mad that your guy won’t have a shot for another title.  But if you’re a Hamlin or Newman fan you love this new format. This new format has delivered that every week and I expect it to deliver next week in Florida.  So sit back and enjoy the show!