Tag: NASCAR

SPORTS: Meet Tia Norfleet, the 1st Black Female NASCAR Driver

Tia-Norfleet

article by Da’ryl Victoria via thesource.com

When we think of women in NASCAR we often think of internationally celebrated Danica Patrick, however there’s one woman in particular we should be paying more attention to. Meet Tia Norfleet, the first African-American female NASCAR driver and daughter of legendary NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet.

The adrenaline and skill of driving at high speeds resides in the bloodline of the Norfleet family, and the love and passion for the sport has been held by Tia since age seven. Having a Hot Wheels Barbie car was a top priority for millions of young girls in the early 90s, but Norfleet’s car would trump others when Mr. Norfleet doubled the battery power of her Barbie Corvette.

Barely a teen, and roughly 10 years removed from the legal age to drive, Bobby Norfleet handed his pre-teen daughter the keys to their family mini-van, knowing she could handle the road alone. At nine years old Tia, now a semi-pro behind the wheel, embarked on daily trips to karate practice, convenient stores, and traveling around her neighborhood in preparation of becoming one out of a handful of women in a high speed and dangerous male dominated sport.

At age 14, Norfleet began competing on a local and regional level in kart racing, leading into a successful drag racing career resulting in top rank stats: winning 37 out of 52 events. In 2000, she switched her focus, setting her sights on dominating the track in entry level spec racing, competing in Bandolero cars. Eventually in 2004, Norfleet would move on to late model stock car racing on short tracks, later becoming the first African-American to obtain a NASCAR late model series racing license. Continue reading “SPORTS: Meet Tia Norfleet, the 1st Black Female NASCAR Driver”

African-American Racer Wendell Scott Officially Inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame Tonight

Wendell Scott
NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott

Announced last May, the news finally became official: as of tonight, African-American race car driver Wendell Scott is the first black man inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Scott drove during the Jim Crow era, and he was the first African-American to win a race at NASCAR’s elite major league level. He died in 1990.  His career began in 1952, and his racing team was his family. They would travel to races together from their home in Virginia, and his sons served as his pit crew.

Wendell Scott's son Frank Scott (left) and grandson Warrick Scott at StoryCorps in Danville, Va. Wendell Scott, who died in 1990, was one of the first African-American NASCAR drivers to win a race at the elite level.
Wendell Scott’s son Frank Scott (left) and grandson Warrick Scott at StoryCorps in Danville, Va. Wendell Scott, who died in 1990, was one of the first African-American NASCAR drivers to win a race at the elite level.

“It was like Picasso, like a great artist doing his work,” says Scott’s son, Frank, 67, at StoryCorps. “And he was in that car, he was doing his work. And as children we didn’t have that leisure time, you know, we couldn’t go to the playground. He said to us, ‘I need you at the garage.’ I can remember him getting injured, and he’d just take axle grease and put it in the cut and keep working.”

But Scott wasn’t allowed to race at certain speedways. When he planned to go to Atlanta, he even received death threats.

“Daddy said, ‘Look, if I leave in a pine box, that’s what I gotta do. But I’m gonna race,’ ” Frank says. “I can remember him racing in Jacksonville, and he beat them all, but they wouldn’t drop the checkered flag. And then when they did, they had my father in third place. One of the main reasons that they gave was there was a white beauty queen, and they always kissed the driver.”

“Did he ever consider not racing anymore?” asks Scott’s grandson, Warrick, 37.

“Never,” Frank says. “That was one of my daddy’s sayings: ‘When it’s too tough for everybody else, it’s just right for me.’ ”

Before the Atlanta 500 in 1964, Scott was sick and needed an operation, but he refused not to race.

“And so, I said, ‘Daddy, we don’t have to race,’ ” Frank says. “He whispered to me and said, ‘Lift my legs up and put me in the car.’ So, I took my arms and put them behind his legs and kind of acted like I was hugging him and helped him into the car. He drove 500 miles that day.”

Wendell Scott (right) and his son Frank in Darlington, S.C., in 1970. Wendell Scott becomes the first African-American driver inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday.
Wendell Scott (right) and his son Frank in Darlington, S.C., in 1970. Wendell Scott becomes the first African-American driver inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday. (Courtesy of the Scott family)

“How did his racing career officially end?” Warrick asks.

Scott’s career ended only because he couldn’t afford to race anymore. No one would financially support his career.

“Where other drivers that we were competing against had major sponsorships, providing them engineers, as many cars as they needed,” Frank says, “he did everything that he did out of his own pocket.

“He always felt like someday he’s going to get his big break,” Frank adds. “But for 20 years nobody mentioned Wendell Scott. At one point it was like he never existed. But he didn’t let it drive him crazy. I think that’s what made him so great. He chose to be a race car driver, and he was going to race until he couldn’t race no more.”

Produced for Morning Edition by Jud Esty-Kendall and John White.  To hear audio of this story, click through to npr.org.

Wendell Scott Becomes 1st Black Man Inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame

Wendell Scott

Nearly 25 years after his passing, Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver to secure a victory at NASCAR’s top level, continues to make history.  His legendary career includes a historic premier series victory, championships, and more than 100 wins in NASCAR’s regional level divisions. This week, he reached the sport’s pinnacle and became a NASCAR Hall of Famer.

Scott, one of NASCAR’s true trailblazers, became the first African American elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Wednesday when the 2015 class was announced in a special unveiling at the hall in Charlotte, North Carolina. Accompanying Scott in NASCAR’s sixth class are Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White all of whom will be officially enshrined on January 30, 2015 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

“This is a proud day for NASCAR and one of the most significant days in the history of our sport,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “We are honored to announce Wendell Scott is a member of our 2015 class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees. “Wendell had plenty of success in our premier series but his contributions, of course, transcended any results on the race track.”

“His importance to our sport grows daily. At NASCAR, we are reminded of that importance with every advancement we make when it comes to diversity and inclusion. All of that can be linked to Wendell Scott. Congratulations go out to the entire Scott family, especially his wife Mary and his children. Wendell is where he belongs, where he has always belonged – in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

Scott, a skilled mechanic and self-sufficient driver on the race track, looked past the racial prejudice that was widespread during the 1950s and 1960s to pursue his love for racing. Continue reading “Wendell Scott Becomes 1st Black Man Inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame”

Darrell Wallace is 1st African-American to Win NASCAR National Race in 50 Years

Darrell Wallace Jr. celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 26.
Darrell Wallace Jr. celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 26.

(CNN) — It’s one win for Darrell Wallace Jr., but what will it mean for other African-American race car drivers — present and future?  The answer to that question might not come for years. Nonetheless, NASCAR wasted no time Saturday in hailing Wallace’s on-track success at Martinsville Speedway in southern Virginia.

“We congratulate Darrell Wallace Jr. on his first national series victory, one that will be remembered as a remarkable moment in our sport’s history,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.  Wallace took the Kroger 200 on the racing circuit’s Camping World Truck Series, which is on NASCAR’s third tier.

Still, it is notable given that no African-American has won any NASCAR national series race since December 1, 1963, when Wendell Scott became the first ever to win a race at NASCAR’s top level, in a victory at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida.  Scott, a Virginia native who served in the Army during World War II, raced in more than 500 races during his career — finishing in the top five 20 times, though that would be his only victory.

Plus, the 20-year-old Wallace isn’t just any driver. He’s a highly touted graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity, having been featured in numerous local and national publications.  The Mobile, Alabama, native — who lives in Concord, North Carolina — won in his 19th start on Camping World Truck circuit. In 10 of his first 18 starts, he finished in the top 10.  Shortly after the Martinsville race ended, Wallace — using his twitter handle @BubbaWallace — reveled in the victory.

He wrote: “We Came. We Saw. We Conquered.”

article by Greg Botelho via cnn.com

Teen Making History as 4th Black Driver in NASCAR

Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, poses with the Coors Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East American Real TV 150 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, poses with the Coors Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East American Real TV 150 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Darrell Wallace Jr., is set to make history as only the fourth black driver with a full-time ride in a NASCAR series.  Wallace takes the wheel for the Truck Series race Friday at Daytona International Speedway. He is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing and will drive the No. 54 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Wallace joins Wendell Scott, Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester as the only full-time black drivers in the 65-year history of NASCAR. Scott, one of the original pioneers, is the only black driver to win a race.  Wallace, the son of a white father and black mother, openly talks of becoming the Tiger Woods of NASCAR. He wants to become a star who can transcend the sport and prove people of all colors can race.

Copyright 2013 Dan Gelston, The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Obama Leads Romney Among NASCAR Fans By Seven Points

President Barack Obama and Nascar Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart pose for a photo during a visit by the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to the White House on April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart to honor his championship season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

President Barack Obama and Nascar Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart pose for a photo during a visit by the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to the White House on April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart to honor his championship season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

President Barack Obama’s recent lead in the polls has extended to some unexpected corners of the electorate. According to a new Zogby poll, the president is beating Republican Mitt Romney by 7 points with NASCAR fans. The Huffington Post has more: Continue reading “Obama Leads Romney Among NASCAR Fans By Seven Points”

Sixteen Year-Old NASCAR Driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. Earns 2020 Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Award!

Sixteen year-old Darrell Wallace, Jr. has earned 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

 

Wallace compiled five top-fives and seven top-10s in 10 races and finished third in the overall season standings. His rookie campaign was highlighted by victories at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway. Winning the Greenville race in his series debut marked the first victory in the 24-year history of the K&N Pro Series East for an African-American driver.

Read more:  http://www.whowon.com/sresults.asp?SanctionID=230&StoryID=298384

Darrell Wallace Jr. Becomes First African-American And Youngest Driver To Win NASCAR Event

History was made Saturday night in NASCAR—though most people may not know of it and who the subject of it is.

Darrell Wallace Jr. was brought into NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and on Saturday, made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway.

Wallace Jr. ran well all night long and when it came to the green-white-checkered, he put himself in position to challenge for the win. On the final lap of the race, he made the move and took the lead from fellow rookie Cole Whitt to win the race.

With the race win, Darrell Wallace Jr. accomplished a lot things of that’ll be remembered for a long time.

First, he became the first African-American to win in series history.

Second, he became the youngest winner ever in the K&N Pro Series East (16 years, 5 months, and 19 days). The previous youngest winner with Brett Moffitt (16 years, 9 months, and 27 days) with his win last season at South Boston Speedway.

Lastly, he gave the Drive for Diversity program its first East victory in history. The program had accomplished two wins previously in the K&N Pro Series West, yet this marked on the East side.

Wallace Jr. started racing when he was nine years old and in 2005, he won 35 of the 48 Bandolero races he entered. He won the championship that year and became the first driver in history to win all six races of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Winter Heat on the way to the title.

In 2006, he moved up to the Late Models and registered 11 wins and 34 top 10s in 38 races.

In 2007, he moved up to the late model division and competed in a variety of tracks. In 2008, his late model career took off as he became the youngest Late Model feature winner at Franklin County Speedway. His 2009 season included three wins and 11 top fives in 23 starts, nine of which were UARA Late Model races.

In 2010, he was pinned to be one of the Drive for Diversity Program drivers and is also a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joe Gibbs Racing has already pulled talents like Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto from the K&N Pro Series in the past.

For the 2010 K&N Pro Series East division, he’ll be driving for Max Siegel, who used to be a part of the management at Earnhardt-Ganassi (then Dale Earnhardt Inc).

Siegel jumped on board with the Drive for Diversity program in June of 2009, which is a program that looks to give female and minority race car drivers an opportunity to show their talents.

Siegel then helped start Revolution Racing as part of a company by the name of 909 Group. He wanted the drivers that are part of the program had a good team to run for. The team put past K&N East Series champion/car owner Andy Santerre in charge of operations due to his past experience. They also have brought in other drivers and crew chief from the three main divisions to be able to mentor the drivers.

So far the program has turned out to be a success as it has allowed drivers like Wallace Jr. to showcase their talents, get out there with strong cars and also lock up deals with major NASCAR teams.

The next K&N Pro Series race is at South Boston Speedway on April 3rd and Wallace Jr. and company look to continue the growth of the program.