Wong breaking barriers

Newport Beach resident is the first Chinese-American to race professionally in all the major racing series.

April 01, 2012|By Bruce Bourquin, Special to the Daily Pilot

Like Jackie Robinson for African-Americans and Billie Jean King for women, professional race car driver Brian Wong is trying to become a breakthrough figure for Asians, both in the United States and worldwide.

The Newport Beach native, a driver in Porsche and Formula One racing the past four years, has been racing in the K&N Series in NASCAR, an equivalent of the minor leagues of the sport that is a bit below the Nationwide Series. The 22-year-old college student who is taking online courses at Northeastern University in Boston is looking forward to committing himself full-time to NASCAR, as soon as he gets more sponsorships.

Wong is trying to open the door for fellow Asian-American racers in the future. He is the first Chinese-American to race professionally in all the major racing series worldwide including NASCAR, American Le Mans Series, and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.


"We're trying to break through that stereotype, you know, that Asians can't drive," Wong said from his race-car garage in Santa Ana. "I'm looking to break through that barrier. The Asian community hasn't been physically exposed to NASCAR. Hopefully, I'm one guy that's breaking through. I'm trying to get as many eyeballs on our sport. Everyone I've talked to thinks it's a good idea to sponsor an Asian driver in NASCAR. It's a matter of who wants to take that chance."

Without a doubt, Wong is doing something your average Joe would be very jealous of doing — racing Porsches, Ferraris, NASCAR Toyota cars, at upward of nearly 250 to 300 miles per hour. It doesn't hurt that Wong's father, Darryl Wong, is the team owner. Dave McCarty is his crew chief and operates out of North Carolina.

McCarty said Brian Wong is trying to race in his first NASCAR race on April 28 at the Utah Grand Prix in Salt Lake City at Miller Motorsports Park.

"Brian had a lot of road racing," McCarty said Saturday via phone from North Carolina. "In oval track racing, he had limited experience. He needed more laps. He had about two or three NASCAR races per year. He needs a full season under his belt. He's come a long way from where he was. He knows he just has to get to the point where he needs to be able to jump in the car, so he knows what the car feels like."

Brian Wong pointed to the example of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and his "Linsanity" in the NBA, after Lin set records for his first few starts in points per game.

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