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Bobby Norfleet

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Bobby Norfleet (born c.1960 in Savannah, Georgia) is an African American race car driver. He has raced motorcycles, drag cars, and stock cars . He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Maryland Institute of Technology.

Crew member for Kulwicki's 1992 NASCAR championshipEdit

In 1991, Norfleet befriended NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki. Norfleet helped Kulwicki prepare the stock cars that Kulwicki used to win the 1992 Winston Cup championship. Kulwicki planned to run Norfleet in the Busch Series, but Kulwicki's death on April 1, 1993, canceled those plans.

2000 Controversy Edit

In 2000, Norfleet announced he would field and drive his own team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but was unable to come up with sponsorship. NASCAR Vice President Brian France called a number of companies who were interested in sponsoring a NASCAR team, and even flew in some company executives. [1] Norfleet came up with sponsorship from 40 Speed Records and So So Def Records. Norfleet failed to qualify for his first race at Martinsville Speedway.

Norfleet made his NASCAR debut at the Portland International Raceway road course. He competed against Bill Lester in that race, which was the only time in NASCAR history that two African-Americans have competed in the same race. Norfleet qualified 17 miles per hour slower than the pole speed, but made the race after only 33 cars qualified for 34 spots. [2] He finishing 32nd after he suffered handling problems. He was also black-flagged three times in the race by NASCAR for not maintaining the required minimum speed.

In the next race at Pikes Peak International Raceway, Norfleet's entry was denied by NASCAR officials, as he was not licensed to run tracks larger than three quarters of a mile. NASCAR requires drivers to either show proficiency on shorter tracks, or have some experience on one mile and larger tracks in a lower series before they are allowed to race on larger tracks. [3] Norfleet claimed the decision was racially motivated, and people protested outside NASCAR's headquarters. After failing to qualify for his next race at Evergreen Speedway, he stopped running NASCAR.

Presently Edit

Norfleet returned as a car owner to NASCAR in 2005. Bobby Norfleet Racing fielded the #24 FUBU Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Mike Harmon in a Busch Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park. The entry failed to qualify. Norfleet had announced his team would compete in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2006, but did not field an entry.[4]

References Edit

  1. http://www.gordonline.com/editorials/060600.html
  2. http://www.gordonline.com/editorials/060600.html
  3. http://www.gordonline.com/editorials/060600.html
  4. http://www.race2win.net/gn/05/race/mmp/mh.html

Sources Edit

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