Minority Team Owned in Part by Dr. J to Compete in NASCAR


NASCAR is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and in all that time there has been only one minority-owned team--25 years ago.

Basketball’s Dr. J, Julius Erving, and football’s Joe Washington, as part of a team called Washington Erving Motorsports, soon will change that. They will field NASCAR teams for Rick Bickle in Winston Cup and Jimmy Foster in Busch Grand National this season.

“Obviously, we hope our endeavor leads to more of an African American presence in motor racing, but our first objective is to be creditable, to put a strong team on the track,” said Washington, a former Oklahoma and NFL running back.


Most of the non-owning personnel on the team are white but Washington is hoping for greater diversification.

“The drivers are important, but we know there is a lot more to a team, and we’d like to see the day when there are black engineers, mechanics, team managers and public relations representatives, as well as drivers,” he said. “Down the road, we want to create a learning experience for them. In the meantime, we want to put together a team that can compete in both series.”

The only previous black-owned team was the one Wendell Scott put together for himself. Scott raced 13 years with NASCAR, winning one race in 1963 before he retired in 1973. He died of spinal cancer in 1990.

Only two other black drivers, Willy T. Ribbs and George Wiltshire, have started Winston Cup races.

“The thought of having our own team out there on Daytona and the other tracks has me all riled up,” Erving said. “I know our team will have a curiosity factor, but what we want is a car that is in contention every week. Right now, I’ve got the same feeling I had when basketball season was about to start.”

Erving and Washington are partners with Fields Jackson Jr., a businessman in Raleigh, N.C., and Kathy Thompson, a marketing executive from Greensboro, N.C.


“The diversity of this group is what is making the biggest news,” Thompson said. “This can be a big thing for NASCAR.”