First Posted: 9/16/2011 5:23:32 PM | Last Updated: 9/16/2011 5:23:33 PM
By: Jarvis Davis, Local New Editor, NASCAR has been around since the 1940’s and has established itself as one of the most popular sports in sports today.
Danica Patrick knocked on the door and eventually she walked in and has had some success driving, along with some lucrative endorsements. Patrick recently announced that she will be driving for NASCAR full time next year to further make a name for herself on the NASCAR circuit.
Well I want to introduce you to someone who is trying to blow the doors off the hinges, she goes by the name of Tia Norfleet. The name doesn’t ring a bell; well it should because she is the first and only African-American female to be licensed by NASCAR.
Tia is from Suffolk , Virginia and was influenced by her father, Bobby Norfleet, to get into driving. This was interesting because Bobby was a driver and as a father will always do, he put his ambitions of driving aside to help his daughter.
In an interview when asked about how hard it was to make that decision Bobby simply stated “it wasn’t a hard decision at all”. He also talked about how when Tia was a child she used to drive her pink Barbie car and say how she always wanted to go faster, from that point on a driver was born.
She started driving go-carts in 1995 and had 22 top ten finishes, 6 top five finishes and 2 wins. Tia is very determined to make a name for herself because she wants to teach young women that if you put your mind to it, it can be done. Tia, as a young adult also knows her history because of the number that was passed on to her by her father, who wore the number as well.
She wears the number 34 which was worn by another “first” in NASCAR history and he goes by the name of Wendell Scott. Scott went through a lot in his 13 year career but in 1963 he accomplished a feat that stands till this day by becoming the only African American to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
He broke down the color barriers and was a true trailblazer for the likes of the Norfleets. The number 34 still lives on and Tia has embraced wearing the number because it represents the struggle and what others have gone through before her.
With Tia’s success she is going to be able to be a figure head in the African American community similar to what Tiger Woods became when he dominated the sport of golf. Tia exemplifies to youth what comes with hard work and dedication by achieving what she has already achieved.
When looking at Tia and her father one is readily reminded of a old saying and it says that it takes a village to raise a child. I look at her and think that with the village she has behind her she has the foundation for success.