Mover over Danica Patrick, there’s a new chick in town, her name is Tia Norfleet who was recently licensed as Nascar’s first African-American female driver. Tia made her NASCAR racing debut in August. The 25-year-old is the daughter of racing veteran Bobby Norfleet, and she’s out to break even more ground.
“Around the age of 14 is when I really, really knew that this was what I wanted to do for a living; this was my passion,”Norfleet told the Huffington Post. When she was young, her dad put two car batteries into a little corvette she had and she drove that car “until the wheels fell off. Ever since then, I’ve just been so enthused about motorsports.”
Her father nurtured that love of racing in his little girl.
“As a young girl, I knew she had the desire to do it,” Bobby said on Norfleet’s website. “I sort of stepped back on myself and my driving to spend the time on her….The talent, that has to be groomed but [she had] the drive and the ambition to do it. [It was] nothing I or her mom ever pushed her in to, so that’s half the battle right there. The rest of it is being taught the racing business, and then being taught the discipline of racing. Because racing is not just getting in the car and driving.”
It seems like Bobby Norfleet did a good job. Besides being very beautiful, this young lady is also focused: she is a businesswoman and a philanthropist.
Norfleet didn’t have any national sponsorship but completed her first NASCAR race anyway. And let’s not forget that there are only 25 Black people alive who’ve ever seen an entire NASCAR event (just kidding, NASCAR). But it’s safe to say that the sport is not particularly popular among African Americans.
Norfleet wants to change that, telling the Washington Post:
A lot of people don’t know anything about [race car driving], especially minorities, especially people of color. Because it is a predominately White sport — a predominately White male sport, at that — a lot of people just don’t know about it. Hopefully with seeing an example, that “hey, if she can do it, I can do it” hopefully that’s the kind of effect that will happen.
Norfleet co-owns Bobby Norfleet Racing with her father. The national sponsorships, she says, are forthcoming.