Nur Ali: Asian-American Race Car Driver

Who says that Asians can’t driveNur Ali raced this past weekend in ARCA Racing Series Rattlesnake 150 at Texas Motor Speedway.   This article from Racin’ Today talks about Nur and his path to becoming an Asian-American race car driver.  He came to Texas when he was eight, and got into racing after getting a degree in International Relations from American University (hey, he is Asian-American).  After years of doing open wheel racing all over the world, he made his stock-car debut in 2008 at Daytona International Speedway, and he was excited to come back to Texas to race on his home track.  Nur was also profiled in this video segment, which talks with him and also with his family.

Nur is not the only Asian-American to do racing.  According to the article, Narain Karthikeyan, a native of India, made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut on March 27 in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

Given the importance of sponsors in racing, how has his ethnicity played out?

“It’s gone both ways. I think there’s some sponsors that haven’t come on-board because of possibly what my background is, which I don’t think should be an issue. I’m an American. We all come from somewhere. I love this country. It’s given me everything that I’ve gotten thus far, along with my family.  And then the other angle, looking at it as a Pakistani or an Asian-American, minorities are the fastest growing segment in the United States _ whether it’s Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Latino- Americans. If there are corporate sponsors out there that would give us an opportunity represent them, we could do a lot for them. It’s just that sometimes when I go into a board meeting trying to explain it to these corporations they understand it…’Yes, yes, yes and we’re excited’…but then they come back with a no answer. Whatever their reasons are.”

Still, Nur Ali is enthusiastic about racing close to his Texas home.  At the race on Friday, April 16, he finished 22nd after starting in 27th place.

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Author: Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.