Wall of Fame

Wall

of Fame

African American
Racers Association

Antron Brown

Antron Brown is a professional Drag Racer (NHRA) and the sports first African-American champion (2012,2015,2016). Antron first raced NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycles (9 years) before switching to Top Fuel Dragsters.

Bill Lester

His path to becoming a racing legend was very different than most professional drivers. In 1984, Bill Lester started working at Hewett-Packard as a computer scientist. While working for H.P., Bill won the SCCA Series Northern California Region Rookie of the Year title and the SCCA GT-3 Regional Road Racing Championship in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Throughout his 15-year career at Hewett-Packard, he would compete in many sports car series in the United States. Finally, at the age of 40, and after many years with H-P, Bill decided to quit his job and concentrate on his professional racing career full-time. In 1999, he became the first African-American to run a Nascar Busch Series race. In 2006 raced in his first Nextel Cup race, becoming the first African-American since 1986 to make a cup race and, at the time, the 6th in the series history. In addition to his accomplishments with Nascar and racing, he was the first African-American to win a Grand-Am race and is the first African-American driver to appear on a cereal box (Honey Nut Cheerios in 2003)

George Mack

In 2002, George Mack became the second African-American (after Willy T. Ribbs) to drive in the Indianapolis 500, he finished 17th in that race. He raced the rest IRL season for 310 Racing and finished 16th in series points with a best finish of 13th.

Willy T. Ribbs

Willy T. Ribbs is the first African-American man to race in the Indianapolis 500 (tested in 1985, raced in 1991 and 1993). Ribbs competed in many auto racing forms, including the Trans-Am Series, IndyCar, Champ Car, IMSA, and the NASCAR Cup Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

Bubba Wallace

William Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. is an American professional stock car racing driver. Since 2012, he competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series. In 2020, Bubba became the face of the sport’s push toward creating a more inclusive environment.

Wendell Scott

Wendell Scott was one of the first African-American drivers in NASCAR and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series, NASCAR’s highest level. Scott began his racing career in local circuits. He attained his NASCAR license in around 1953, making him the first African-American ever to compete in NASCAR. He debuted in the Grand National Series on March 4, 1961, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. On December 1, 1963, he won a Grand National Series race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, becoming the first black driver to win a race at NASCAR’s premier level.

Peggy llewellyn

In 2007, Peggy Llewellyn became the first woman of color to win a professional motorsports event. In 2010, she became the 1st woman of color to win, operate and race for an NHRA professional drag racing team.

Sage Thomas

From the streets to the stage, Sage Thomas, aka Donkmaster, has taken the underground Donk racing culture to the mainstream. From racing events to his own TV show on Vice, Donkmaster smashed boundaries and built bridges to his big rim racing world!

James "Bubba" Stewart Jr

Bubba Stewart is one of the most dominant Motocross riders in history. He is 2nd all-time in wins and has won over 12 championships in this sport. In 2008 James won every race and every moto of the AMA Motocross season (1 of 2 people ever to have a perfect season).

Brehanna Daniels

In 2019 Brehanna Daniels made history and became the first African-American female tire changer to pit in the Daytona 500. She is the 2nd African American woman to pit for Nascar.
rajo Jack

Dewey Gatson

Dewey Gatson, also know as Rajo Jack and Jack DeSoto, is known as one of the first African American racers in America. He began racing his Model T Ford in 1923. Later that year, he was hired by Rajo Motor Manufacturing to sell its aftermarket racing kits. His sales skills were so good he earned the name “Rajo”. From 1923 – 1954 he would dominate the “Outlaw Circuits.” These were the only races Rajo could compete in. He was barred from racing in sanctioned American Automobile Association (AAA) events, including the Indy 500, because he was black. He often claimed to be a Portuguese man named “Jack DeSoto” to gain eligibility to race in certain events. In 1954 he got the opportunity to participate in AAA sanctioned races, capturing two wins. Dewey Gatson died in 1956.

Elias Bowie

Elias Bowie is the first African-American to compete in an Nascar race. A page from the August 1, 1955, edition of the San Mateo (CA) Times newspaper, with an article about that weekend’s NASCAR race at Bay Meadows Speedway. The 250-lap Grand National Series race was held on July 31, 1955, on the one-mile San Mateo dirt track. It featured several NASCAR stars of the time, including Lee Petty, Marvin Panch, Buck Baker, Ed Negre, and Tim Flock — the race winner, who also won the Grand National title that year. Elias Bowie finished 28th that day in a field of 34 cars, earning prize money worth $90 in front of 15,000 fans, making his first and only NASCAR Cup appearance. Credit Rebecca Gladden

Bari Musawwir

In 2011, Bari Musawwir became the first African American driver in Monster Jam and won rookie of the year honors. In 2011, he began his first season by driving El Toro Loco. In 2012, Bari would be put into the Spider-Man truck, which he would drive until 2014. In 2015, Bari was put into the Zombie monster truck

Rickey Gadson

Rickey Gadson, the most recognizable face in motorcycle drag racing, is an AMA 11x World Champion and the most winningest motorcycle drag racers in history. Gadson became the sport’s first full-time factory-sponsored rider in 1998 when he signed with Kawasaki.
Charlie Wiggins

Charles Wiggins

Charles “Charlie” Wiggins was a driver who won the prestigious Gold and Glory Sweepstakes race four times between 1926 and 1935. As an African-American competing during the inter-war years, he was barred from participating in white-only events, including the Indianapolis 500. However, he was a dominating figure in the parallel Colored Speedway Association (CSA) championships. His dominance had mainstream media call him “the Negro Speed King.”

Cheryl Linn Glass

Cheryl Linn “The Lady” Glass started racing sprint cars when she was nine years old. She eventually raced in over 100 professional races. She became the first African-American female professional race car driver in the United States.

Charlie Scott

On Feb. 26, 1956, Charlie Scott became the second African-American to compete in a top-tier NASCAR event. He would only race once in what was then known as the Grand National Series. Scott qualified his Chrysler 300 in 14th (out of a 76-car field) and finished the race at the Daytona Beach-Road Course in 19th place. Prize money: $75.

Andrew Robinson III

Andrew “Big Willie” Robinson III was a street racing icon who bridged the gap between the people, A-listers, and lawmakers in the mid-60s, bringing peace to a racially torn Los Angeles. After the Watts riots in 1965, the city was on the edge of implosion. With rival gangs and police waring in the streets, Big Willie used the passion for cars and street racing to bring people together. He created the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers that ran a drag strip on Terminal Island in L.A.

Leonard W. MIller

Leonard Miller is a pioneer in motorsports & creator of the Black American Racers Association (BARA). This organization was formed to recognize black racing drivers, crews, mechanics, car owners, and other members of the auto racing community and corporations that help promote black racing development. In addition to his many accomplishments, in 1972, his Vanguard Racing group became the first black-owned team to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500.

Ron Hines

Ron Hines was the first black Ivy League-educated (UPenn) auto racing engineer. He co-founded the Black American Racers Association (BARA). He was an engineer for Black American Racers, Inc. (BAR), the first black auto racing team to attain national sponsorship in America, in the 1970s.
michael phillips

Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips made his mark in drag racing in 1995 by becoming the first African American to win an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle race. Michael is one of the few in a class of racers who can ride in any class and excel. Michael also earned eight top ten honors in Top Gas, SuperSport, Streetbike Shootout, and Pro Mod in a carrer spanning over 20 years.

Tommy Bolton

Tommy “Tombo” Bolton is arguably the most accomplished and influential African-American motorcycle racer of all-time. During his career, he has won over 25 championships, and during a time it was unheard of, he secured major sponsorships. Other great African-American motorcycle drag racers are on record stating Tombo has inspired them to get into racing. His most notable accomplishment came in 1990 when he became the first African-American drag bike racer to pass the 200 mph mark with a 7.18 at 205 mph.

Malcolm Durham

Malcolm Durham is often called drag racing’s first black superstar. He’s given credit for breaking the “color barrier” in big-time drag racing and has been described by many as the sport’s equivalent to Jackie Robinson. Raised on a family farm in Goldsboro, N.C, Durham first started racing in the 1950s in his 56′ Chevy, and in 1962 he moved to Washington D.C. to take automotive classes at a trade school and expand his knowledge in the automotive industry. He went on to work for Hicks Chevrolet as a mechanic role and car salesman, all while racing on the weekends where he won 90% of his races. Durham drove his 1963 Chevy Impala, and this was when the “Strip Blazer” car legacy began. Durham traveled around the country and matched raced legends like Don Nicholson, the Dick Landys, and the Ramchargers. Even though he had a quiet demeanor in private, Durham used hip language and a bigger than life persona to bring “cool” to “The Muscle Car Wars” of the 1960s. He is named #48 of the NHRA’s top 50 drivers of all time.

Colored Speedway Association

The Indianapolis Speedway is the mecca of professional race car driving. But when Charlie Wiggins and other African-American drivers were barred from competing at the raceway, they took matters into their own hands. In 1924 William Rucker formed the Colored Speedway Association. The highlight of the Colored Speedway Association was the annual Gold and Glory Sweepstakes, a 100-mile race on a 1-mile dirt track at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The first race in August 1924 was won by Malcolm Hannon of Indianapolis, with only three cars surviving to the end. Legendary Boxer Jack Johnson presented a trophy to Hannon. The 100-mile race began to be referred to as the “Gold and Glory” race after the Chicago Defender’s Frank Young wrote in 1924 that “this auto race will be recognized throughout the length and breadth of the land as the single greatest sports event to be staged annually by colored people. This race drew a crowd of 12,000 and was the largest sporting event held for African Americans up to that point. The legendary Charles “Charlie” Wiggins won the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes 4 times. Dubbed the “Negro Speed King” by the then predominately white press, Wiggins was the sport’s most revered participant, known for unprecedented prowess behind the wheel and under the hood. His talents ultimately earned him the respect and admiration of drivers, both black and white. He competed annually until an accident ended his racing career. Like so many organizations at the time, the Colored Speedway Association could not survive the economic turmoil that was the Great Depression. On top of that, several of its biggest names were forced out of the sport due to injuries sustained during the circuit’s final racing season. The Colored Speedway Association shut its doors in late 1936, taking the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes legacy along with it.

J.R. Todd

Introduced to motorsports by his father, J.R Todd has been racing dragsters since he was 10 years old. He spent many years working various motorsports jobs trying to secure sponsorships and a seat in a Top Fuel Dragster. All is perseverance finally paid off. In 2006 J.R. Todd became the first African American to win an NHRA Top Fuel Race. He finished the season with multiple wins and earned NHRA Rookie of the Year Honors.

Stone, Woods & Cook Race Team

Tim Woods & Fred Stone were the first black owners of a race team to win a national title for any sanctioning body & Doug Cook drove their various versions of the “Swindler” Willy’s. The Stone, Woods, and Cook (SWC) racing team was the world’s first racially integrated team consisting of black owners (Woods & Stone) and a white driver (Cook). This took place during a time when Woods & Stone weren’t allowed to enter the track and had to watch their car run from the stands. SWC was also part of the group to start match racing competitions called “Gasser Wars” in the 1960s. They would travel across the nation and grudge race, other gasser teams. Their fast and loud grudge racing environment would pack drags strips across the nation. Their SWC Gassers are some of the most legendary cars in drag racing history. In 1982 Hot Rod Magazine voted the SWC Gasser the most famous drag car of all time. In 2008 the NHRA voted and awarded them the same honor. The SWC Gassers have been memorialized as model cars & Hot Wheel cars.

Nitro Nellie Goins

On April 11, 1971, at Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin, Nitro Nellie Goins made history by becoming the first African-American woman to drive a Nitro Funny Car. Her career spanned from 1969 to thru the early 70’s. Ironically, it was never her intention or passion to get into racing. Her husband Otis was extremely passionate about racing. In the late 60’s they saved their money purchased a 1968 Barracuda Otis called “The Conqueror.” Due to health reasons, Otis couldn’t fulfill his passion and drive the car, so Nellie offered to drive it. “Drag racing was not my first passion, but I did it for my husband and my family,” she admits. ….. “This was the family dream.” Nellie would compete in various race events at the famed U.S. 30 Drag Strip near Gary, Indiana, sharpening her skills with each race. Eventually, the 68′ Barracuda was traded in for a 1970 Challenger. Unfortunately, during an event at Bristol Dragway in the early 70’s, the new car was totaled on one of its first runs. However, they didn’t let that stop their dreams. The goal was the AA/FC ranks of supercharged nitro, so in early 1970, they commissioned chassis builder Lee Austin to build them a new car, which had a Fiberglass Ltd. ’71 Mach 1 Mustang body. The car debuted Aug. 29, 1971, at U.S. 30 in injected nitro trim and later was converted to a full-blown nitro burner. The car could run in the low sevens at speeds approaching 215 mph. The dream ride came to an end one weekend a few years later at Bristol Dragway. The right front tire got off the track, damaging both the chassis and the body. Although Otis ordered a new Monza shell for the car, his health had begun to decline as a result of his diabetes. The team could no longer afford to race, so the car was parked and sat in their garage for almost three decades.

Rufus "Brooklyn Heavy" Boyd

Rufus Boyd, aka Brooklyn Heavy, was a legend in the 1970s racing scene. He dominated the streets and eventually graduated to continue his dominance on the Pro Stock level. He would drive himself or hire the country’s best drivers to pilot his fleet of clean and fast “Brooklyn Heavy” American muscle cars. He toured with the United Soul Racing Team and was a charter member of the Black American Racers Association (BARA).

Tia Norfleet

Tia Norfleet made history and became the first African-American woman licensed by NASCAR. On August 4, 2012, Tia made her debut at the Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn, Virginia. Tia has racing in her blood. Her father is retired racecar driver Bobby Norfleet.

Melissa Harville - Lebron

Melissa Harville – Lebron made history as the first African-American woman to solely own a race team licensed by NASCAR. She created E2 Northeast Motorsports under the umbrella of W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc. On February 16, 2018, her team ran its first official race in the Camping World Truck Series at Daytona. Driver Scott Stenzel started the race in an E2 Northeast Motorsports Chevrolet; he came in 15th place at Daytona International Speedway.

Ronald Lyles - Mutt Brothers

Ronald Lyles is considered one of the best black Pro Stock Mopar racers in history. A member of the world-famous “Mutt Brothers”, hailing from Brooklyn, NYC, he fortified his reputation winning races all over the Northeastern United States. In 1971 Ronald and the Mutt Brothers raced professionally as a team on the NHRA Pro Stock circuit. He raced heavily on the Atlantic seaboard, especially at New York National, Cecil County, Capitol, and the various Pennsylvania and New Jersey tracks. In 1973, Lyles stunned the world with the second eight-second Pro Stock run in history, an 8.89 at New York National on March 24 in a Ron Butler-built ’73 Dodge. He would have had the first eight, except that another racer ran an 8.93 a day earlier at Cecil County. The Mutt Brothers team, with Ronald Lyles as the driver, became the first and only African Americans to join the United States Racing Team, which was considered the elite or the top 16 professional stock teams in the country.

Eugene Coard - Mutt Brothers

Eugene Coard is a retired drag racer who is an owner and crew chief of Mutt Brother’s Racing Team. The Mutt Brothers Racing Team (Eugene Coard, Ronald Lyles, John Lyles, Bennie Dunham, and Jesse Johnson) hailed from Brooklyn, New York. While they started their reputation in the Northeast United States streets, they were widely regarded as the greatest African-American Pro Stock Team to race professionally. The Mutt Brothers competed in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), and the United States Racing Team. Eugene was primarily the crew chief and is regarded by many as the African-American Godfather of New York City Street Racing. Eugene and the Mutt Brothers were the first and only African Americans to be members of the elite United States Racing team in 1972. This team consisted of the 16 fastest Pro Stock cars in the United States.

Reggie Showers

Reggie Showers is an inspiration to us all. At the age of 14, he lost both of his legs due to an electrical accident. Determined not to let his disability get in the way of his dreams, Showers followed his passion and embarked on a motorcycle drag racing career. In 1989 he began his professional career competing in the IDBA. Showers captured both the season championship and rookie of the year award. His dream was to compete in the NHRA, and in 1995 his dream came true. He raced under Harry Lartigue for half the 1995 season until midway thru the 1996 season. Shortly after that, Showers decided to start his own race team. In 1997 Prosthetic Design Inc., a major manufacturer of components for the disabled, recognized Showers to be a valuable marketing associate, and the partnership was formed. Nearly 20 years after his motorcycle career began, Showers’ fulfilled the unimaginable on September 7th, 2003, by capturing his first national event victory at NHRA’s most illustrious and prestigious race, the Indianapolis U.S. Nationals.

Melanie Thomas

In 2006, Melanie Thomas became the first African American woman to be a pit crew member in Nascar. She was a member of the pit crew of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepard. After her brief stint with Shepard, she joined CJM Motorsports, another NASCAR team headed by driver Mike Skinner. She was the right-rear tire changer. In all, she has worked on four teams. Thomas was the first woman ever to “go over the wall” (working on a car during a racing pit stop) in a Nascar Nextel Cup event. She was also the first female to do pit work in a Nextel Cup points event.

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