It takes a lot of drive and determination to be the first at anything, but to do it in an all-male, all-white industry takes it to a whole different level. Tia Norfleet has become the first African American woman ever to race in a NASCAR event. Her desire to race came at the early age of 5 when her father, professional racecar driver Bobby Norfleet, built her first car for. Her desire to race has been strong ever since and her determination propelled her to win 37 of 52 Kart and Drag racing events at the local level. Clearly a proven winner already it was no surprise that her dream to compete in NASCAR came true when she had her first race on August 4 at the Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn, Virginia.
Although Tia is totally committed to becoming a champion on the race track, she clearly realizes that what you do off the track is equally as important. She is adamant about being a positive role model for young women as well as African Americans in general; showing people that they can achieve whatever they want with hard work and patience. In addition to living and speaking a positive message, Tia is also involved in several groups to include the National African American Drug Policy Coalition and the Motorsports Institute, Inc. Even though her career is just blossoming Tia and her father make anywhere from 80 to 100 community appearances annually promoting the sport and encouraging African Americans to participate in racing or follow whatever dreams they may have.
Wearing the number 34 in honor of Wendell Scott, the first African American to win a NASCAR Spring Cup Series race, Tia understands the need to honor the history of the sport as well as take it to another level. As a beautiful, strong, dedicated and positive black woman we congratulate her on her success to date and wish her well in the future.
"My plan is to do my best, be myself, and hope that someone somewhere is inspired by what I am doing. It is true that NASCAR is a virgin market for people of color. My goal is to educate and inspire people of color through this platform that I have been given. There are many jobs within motorsports. One could be an engineer, race car driver or marketing professional – whatever it is; there are plenty of opportunities within this sport." - Tia Norfleet