The year is 2018, and it’s critical to pay attention to the fact that we still have to say things like ‘the first Mexican to win’ and the ‘the first female to do this’, and as far as we have come, we still have a long way to go. For the sake of continuing to make history, I want to bring up an important name in the game: Shauntia "Tia" Norfleet, NASCAR’s first African-American female race car driver. Daughter of former NASCAR driver, Bobby Norfleet, the 32 year old is originally from Virginia and is well seasoned as driving professionally runs through her veins.
Tia started racing at the young age of seven years old, and apparently at 9 years of age, her father gave her the keys to the family minivan and was pushing those wheels around on her own. At 14 years old Tia started competing on local and regional level kart racing and was always on top, winning 37 out of 52 events. Can you imagine, at 14 years of age, leading on the charts of drag racing, when most of us were worried about how we were going to decorate our lockers?
As a winner, you always think of how to take you dreams and goals to the next step, and Tia thought she would do just that. In 2000, the young and ambitious driver switched her game up to entry level spec racing with Bandolero cars (entry level racing in the US and Canada, with cars that reach an excess and 50 mph that do not accelerate quickly). Shortly after in 2004, Tia moved onto late model stock car racing, racing with an early model or classic car, and became the first female African-American to obtain a NASCAR late model series racing license.
Shauntia continued to late model race in Georgia for the rest for the rest of 2004. In 2012 she intended to raise funds to help her race in NASCAR’s national touring series competition, but was unsuccessful. Going through ups and downs, Tia continues to race with her father’s old number, 34, and is determined to break barriers in the racing world not only for women, but for her culture as well. We stand with Tia on her journey to find sponsorship and see her on the race track where she deserves to be.
By CSUITEMusic Blogger and Social Media Manager Deidre Curiel