The road success of being a professional race car driver is not easy. Much more if you’re considered a minority. But Shauntia Latrice Norfleet, better known as Tia Norfleet, is an African American and a woman. And she is the first Black woman to be licensed by NASCAR.
“I think my story is still being written from when I started, to now, I think that what I stand for is so much bigger than me,” said Norfleet. “Coming into it, I thought I just wanted to race and then it turned into ‘I have to do this to open up doors for other people like me.’”
Among the many roadblocks she encountered, one is the high expenses associated with racing. Even just the practices require having access to premium NASCAR vehicles, mechanical crew, proper safety gear, and many others.
““From the business side, the biggest challenge is obtaining sponsorship,”” said Norfleet. “A lot of people don’t understand the dynamics of how racing actually works. They think you get a license, you get qualified and you’re going to be in every race because you’re qualified, but that’s not the case.”
Norfleet is a history maker because she is the first African-American woman to be licensed by both NASCAR, National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, and ARCA, the Automobile Racing Club of America.