Magazine article Ebony

WILLY T. RIBBS Crosses New Boundaries

Magazine article Ebony

WILLY T. RIBBS Crosses New Boundaries

Article excerpt

IMAGINE racing a car at speeds up to 200 miles an hour, with the front fender one inch from the concrete barrier. A blowout could send you crashing into that wall. Imagine growing up watching your father drive fast cars as a hobby. Imagine racing in the Indy 500 and in today's NASCAR events at famous tracks such as Daytona.

For Willy T. Ribbs, these are not daydreams. They are reality. At 41, Ribbs has been racing fast cars since he was a teenager. It is what he does for a living, what he does for enjoyment. Racing is his life and his love. In 1991 he made headlines as the first African-American to race in the world-renowned Indianapolis 500. Today, Ribbs is the first and only Black NASCAR driver. This year he will participate in 24 races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

He loves the thrill, the speed, the high one gets from defying the odds and winning. And living to tell about it. "When you roll out of the pit lane and out onto the track, you are absolutely switched on like a computer," Ribbs says. "You are thinking. You are not driving out of control. You are very, very precise with everything you do. And at high speeds you have to be very precise. It's like a surgeon. When a surgeon is in the operating room, he's got on those glasses and that mask, and he's focused on what he s doing. He knows if he makes an error, it could result in someone dying. Well, it's the same thing with driving a racecar. You absolutely must be in a zone, in your own world. You don't become emotional about it, or you will end up in the wall. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.