NASCAR brings elites to Atlanta

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NASCAR roars into Atlanta this weekend for a triple dose of muscle cars on the oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The sport’s top three circuits combine for 1,000 miles of racing with nearly $6.7 million up grabs between the American Commercial Lines 200ragan_david_blog.jpg Craftsman Truck Series race (Friday), the Nicorette 300 Nationwide Series event (Saturday) and the Kobalt Tools 500 for the elite Spring Cup series (Sunday.)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today takes a look at some of the story lines on tap for the weekend.

Southern Voice also explores the relationship between gay fans and NASCAR. Summed up, the sport professes, well, ignorance of its gay fan base:

In NASCAR history, most of the faces in the stands belonged to white men, but that is beginning to change. In 2000, NASCAR began a much publicized “Drive for Diversity,” a program meant to open doors for minority drivers and crewmembers. But NASCAR doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity in the definition of the word “Diversity.” It refers only to race and gender, according to Andrew Giangola, NASCAR’s director of business and multicultural communications.

“The program is designed to find opportunities for female and minority drivers, and certainly the sexual orientation is up to the driver,” Giangola says. “We don’t inquire about the sexual orientation of any of our drivers.”

Not only does NASCAR not follow a “Don’t Ask” policy, but once told, they seem not to notice. Giangola says out of all of NASCAR’s sanctioned series, which gets into the hundreds because NASCAR sanctions many local short tracks like Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, there are no openly gay drivers.

gordon_jeff_blog.jpgHighlights of the SoVo piece also include a mention of Evan Darling, the only known openly gay driver at any level of the sport, and reintroduces us to long-time NASCAR fan Betty Jack Devine, a longtime Atlantan and drag personality who writes www.gaytona.com to follow the sport with a gay slant.

One of the story lines unfolding this weekend is that of David Ragan (above right), a 22-year-old hottie from Unadilla, Ga., who’s making a run at the Nicorette 300 on Sunday. He’s just one of several NASCAR hunks that also include Kasey Kahne (top photo), the 27-year-old whose eyes say it all, and Jeff Gordon (left), the driver that most NASCAR fans love to hate. We just love looking at him, especially when he goes metrosexual.

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