Tia Norfleet is the first and only black woman racecar driver to be licensed by NASCAR. The Suffolk, Virginia native actually began driving at age 4 when she spotted the keys in the ignition of her parent’s minivan. Her inner-driver made its first debut all the way through the front porch of their home.
Three years later, at age 7, her curiosity was fed with a Hot Wheels Barbie car in which her father added an extra battery for power and speed; then onto go-karts and stock cars. Only a few years later, Norfleet had racked up 22 finishes in the top 10. At 24 years old, she was embraced by NASCAR officials.
She races with the number 34, which is the same number as her father, Bobby Norfleet, also a legendary driver who holds the only minority-owned sponsorship to motorsports. Consequently, the number 34 was also the number of Wendell Scott, the first black to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The young woman driver credits her father for teaching her the ups and downs of racing based on his experience as an African-American man in a predominately non-minority sport.