Tia Norfleet broke barriers last year becoming the first female African-American to get licensed as NASCAR driver, but she’s recently coming under fire for what level of racing she is actually licensed for.
According to the New York Times, Norfleet bought a license to compete at local and regional events, but hasn’t earned NASCAR approval to move up to one of its national touring series because during her race last August she only completed one lap.
Although she wasn’t approved to compete at a national level, her racing schedule lists the 2013 Nationwide Series schedule, and there are pictures of her in a firesuit with the Nationwide Series logo for NASCAR’s second-tier series and NASCAR is supposedly not happy about it.
NASCAR Vice President for Public Affairs and Multicultural Development, Marcus Jadotte said in an e-mail to the NY Times, “I am uncomfortable with attempts Ms. Norfleet and her representatives have made to forgo the sport’s development process.”
Norfleet still however is very much a licensed NASCAR driver, the issue comes at marketing herself to be on a higher level of racing than what she actually is. NASCAR hasn’t said this is an illegal act, just something they are not pleased with.
NASCAR claims they have attempted to get more minorities in having a Drive for Diversity program that facilitate opportunities for women and minorities. No matter what level Tia Norfleet is racing, her popularity has made an impact on other minorities receiving recognition like Darrell Wallace Jr. and Kyle Larson. Wallace and Larson are both African-American who race full-time in NASCAR.