When Danica Patrick started to compete in NASCAR, she became the first female driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole. With all the attention Patrick has been getting in competing in NASCAR events, another female driver not only hopes to do the same but to open a door that is currently locked.
Tia Norfleet wants to open this door and not only become the first African-American female driver in NASCAR but to clear a path for other female African-American female drivers to follow.
Norfleet has promoted herself as being an accomplished driver that has been working her way through the ranks of NASCAR. She also claims that this year, she is planning to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. However, The New York Times has reported that much of what Norfleet has been saying about herself is false and that her record does not come close to what she’s claimed to have achieved.
The New York Times published a story on March 6th that what Norfleet has said she has done and what she actually accomplished, does not match up. To begin with, she does not have a license to compete in NASCAR. Officials in NASCAR are not pleased with the way she has been promoting herself and Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR’s vice president for public affairs and multicultural development, told The New York Times that “I am uncomfortable with Tia representing herself in the way that she has.”
Norfleet, the daughter of former NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet, spoke with David Steele of Sporting News in May of 2011. It was at this time she said she was hoping to make her debut in NASCAR before the end of the year as well as opening the door for other African-American women to be able to race.
She said during the interview “That’s one of the things I want to change. We want to bring a different light to NASCAR. You ask the average person, black, what NASCAR is, and they say, ‘you drive around in a circle, and that’s it—so what?’ She added, “Well, they don’t see anyone there they recognize, or that they can identify with.”
Over the past two years, she has told a similar story as well as making similar comments during interviews with the media such as Essence Magazine, ESPN, Huffington Post and The Washington Post.
However, one website has gone so far as calling Norfleet’s story a hoax and making a comparison of her to Manti Te’o. The website awfulannouncing.com said Monday that Norfleet is another hoax that fooled everyone and saying that the Manti Te’o story is an example of how the sports media can be suckered in by a false story; her story has the potential of reflecting on the sports media even more poorly. The New York Times report stated how a lot of what Norfleet has said is not true.
The Times reported that Platinum Sports Entertainment Group, which represents Tia Norfleet, distributed a press release that claims she is “the first and only African-American female driver in NASCAR and ARCA.” Her website TiaNorfleet34.com, states that she plans on racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series before the end of this year.
Yet, The Times reported that she does not have a license to compete in NASCAR nor ARCA, which is another stock-car racing series. Furthermore, the only NASCAR-sanctioned event she has ever been a part of was in a low-level event at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. last year. Norfleet finished one lap before parking her car.
Another item that appeared in the article was that Norfleet, who hails from Augusta, Ga., has a criminal record in Virginia and Georgia. She was found guilty of drug-related offenses and assault in 2005 and 2009. The Times said NASCAR officials told them how they were concerned with the way she has promoted herself on her website and during interviews.
Jadotte said in an email that “Ms. Norfleet is one of thousands of individuals who have purchased licenses in the Late Model Division of our sport. I am uncomfortable with attempts Ms. Norfleet and her representatives have made to forgo the sport’s development process.”
Norfleet was asked about claims regarding her racing background and her career, in which she responded by saying, “I’ve been racing in non-sanctioned races before. I’ve been racing forever. For as long as I can remember. I race in non-sanctioned races.”
As for The Times report regarding her website, she said, “I’m not going to let a biased, smear campaign stop me. I’ve been dealing with this type of obstruction since I got my license back in 2010.”
Since 2004, NASCAR has implemented a Drive for Diversity program that was designed to help minority drivers and has chosen African-American drivers to become a part of the program.
African-American driver Darrell Wallace Jr. was a participant in the program and is now racing full time in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series. Despite Norfleet’s father participating in the truck series in the early 90’s, according to NASCAR officials, Norfleet was never asked to take part of the program.
Tia Norfleet Nascar
Danica Patrick may be making headlines at the Daytona 500, but there’s another woman leaving the competition in the dust.Meet Tia Norfleet– a self-described adrenaline junkie who has a need for speed, sometimes up to 200 miles per hour. She’s the first African-American woman to earn her Nascar racing license and the daughter of race car driver, Bobby Norfleet.
Danica Patrick crash at Daytona 500 Qualifying Race
Talladega Crash Video from NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Caused by Tony Stewart
NASCAR Qualifying Results: AJ Allmendinger Takes Pole Position for STP 400 Sprint Cup Series
Daytona 500 Winner in 2012 is Matt Kenseth
Cope Twins Maxim Photos & Behind The Scenes NASCAR Shoot & Video