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This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.

Tia Norfleet

Place of Residence: Virginia

Why She’s a Game Changer: It’s usually a diss to say a woman is fast but in Norfleet’s case, it is a compliment like no other. That’s because Norfleet is the first African-American woman to be licensed as a driver for NASCAR.

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Norfleet, daughter of racing veteran Bobby Norfleet, made her debut in August. Earlier this month, she started in the ARCA racing series, which serves as a stepping stone to the major NASCAR events. Wouldn’t it be great if Norfleet was in the pole position one day like trailblazer Danica Patrick was Sunday for the Daytona 500?

Patrick finished 8th, the highest finishing spot for a woman. Norfleet has aspirations to smash records one day.

I have been inspired by her a lot,” Norfleet told Reuters about Patrick. Danica has shown that as a female we can hang with the boys. We can do it just as well as anyone else can….She is motivation for me to get out there, do good, and give it my all while knowing that I don’t have to back down because I am a female. It makes me work even harder.

Norfleet started racing in a battery-powered Barbie car that her dad souped up, because his young daughter had a need for speed. Norfleet says she drove the car until “the wheels fell off.” Norfleet’s love from the sport just grew from there and she knew she wanted to race for a living by the age of 14.

Now that she has started on her path to success, Norfleet wants to inspire others. She has a literacy foundation called “Driven2Read.” She tells Reuters:

That’s my main goal — to motivate young girls of all colours, all races and all creeds, and to let them know that you don’t have to go out and do something that is immoral or not right….I want them to know you can be positive and you can achieve things. When people tell you you can’t do something, I just want to motivate them to be all that they can be…I’m all about empowerment and, at the same time, I want to grow into the woman that I want to be.

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