Brad Daugherty Black History Month Profile
Born in Black Mountain, North Carolina, auto racing has always been a part of the seven-foot, All-American NCAA basketball player and five-time NBA All-Star's life. Like many of his peers, Daugherty's passion for racing started at a young age. He grew up around racing, loving racing and wanting to be a part of it. Although he played football, baseball and was an overall good athlete, he never lost the itch to be involved in racing.
Daugherty joined the University of North Carolina basketball team at the age of 16. In 1986, he became the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers; after eight seasons with the team, he ended his career as the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
"I look back on it and I never had any aspirations of playing in the NBA," said Daugherty. "I just wanted to go to college and utilize my skill to get myself a free education."
After back troubles forced Daugherty to end his basketball career, he chose to follow his longtime passion and dive head first into motorsports. Finding his start during the late '90s in the Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR asked him to join the competition committee for the then-Nationwide series. Daugherty's decision to join these committees wasn't solely fueled by his love of racing, but also his determination to create opportunities for more minorities to become involved in the sport. He took those efforts a step further by co-founding NASCAR's Diversity council in 2000.
In 2007, Brad became a member of the NASCAR ESPN broadcast team. Years later, Daugherty was named partner in JTG Daugherty Racing - making him the first African-American owner of a NASCAR team.
The team's best moment came in 2014, when JTG Daugherty Racing captured its first victory with AJ Allmendinger at Watkins Glen International. In 2015, Allmendinger captured the pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. This was the team's first pole.
When asked if he feels people have any issues with him being so heavily involved in NASCAR as a black man, he responded, "There will always be bias and racial differences. I think that is reality. But man, I've met some of the best people in my life at the racetrack."
Daugherty, Allmendinger and the rest of JTG Daugherty Racing return to Sonoma Raceway June 24-26 for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. For tickets or more information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, visit racesonoma.com/nascar or call 800-870-RACE (7223).