Twenty-Four year old Tia Norfleet is attempting to break down barriers in yet another predominately white sport. Tia is aspiring to become the first African American female to start a NASCAR race. Daughter of NASCAR racer Bobby Norfleet , Tia is looking to follow her father’s footsteps, but following his footsteps means breaking down barriers.
To date there have been zero African American females to start a NASCAR race and Tia is aiming to change that. During an interview with the HuffingtonPost Tia had this to say:
“I can remember when females were not allowed in the pit garage and now you are seeing more and more of the sport being family surrounded which is a wonderful thing, having a first female African-American driver would be awesome.”
She is absolutely correct…..it would be awesome. In the African American community NASCAR is not a fan favorite. Sure there are fans of NASCAR that are black, but racing has long been considered a “white male” sport. The number of minority drivers at NASCAR is minimal and the amount of minority support probably matches those numbers. In an attempt to branch out NASCAR launched its “Drive for Diversity” program which recruits and actively promotes minorities and women. The program was launched 8 years ago and to date no one has made a breakthrough into NASCAR’s lead racing series, but it’s a start.
Tia has yet to qualify for a long distance NASCAR track such as Daytona but has been successful with drag racing and on shorter tracks and has recorded 2 top 15 finishes. Although it’s not where she wants to be she is headed in the right direction. Jackie Robinson broke down barriers in baseball, Althea Gibson in tennis, Tiger Woods in golf, and Tia is well on her way with NASCAR.