race car driver Tag

Black is Beautiful 2022 – Cheryl Linn Glass


Cheryl Linn Glass was born in Seattle Washington in 1961. She is the oldest of two and developed an interest in racing at a young age. She began racing as a kid in quarter midget cars, then moving up to half midget, then wingless Sprinter cars. Having encouraging parents, she and her sister developed a great love for racing. She graduated high school at 16 and turned pro at 18. The cars she drove at her height used v8 engines and went at least 120 mph. Her goal was to make it to the Indianapolis 500 and then Formula 1. She is the first African American woman to be a professional race car driver. She raced in over 100 races in pacific northwest and nationwide racking up tons of wins and trophies. In addition to being a world class driver she was also a model and an entrepreneur who started a business as a kid as a doll maker and as an adult as a wedding dress maker. In the later part of her career she made it two crashes and dealt with a lot of racism, harassment, sexism, and rape. She died young and the report says she committed suicide though her family disputes this. She is a trailblazer.
Sources: History link, Hemmings, Wikipedia
Did you see the one I did of Willy T Ribbs? See that here

If you haven’t been keeping up with the pieces this year, here is the last one of Jerry Lawson

Black Is Beautiful 2021- Willy T. Ribbs


In 1991 Willy T Ribbs became the first Black man to qualify for one of the fastest, most prestigious, and dangerous races in the world. The Indy 500, established in 1911. Willy started his path to being a professional race car driver at an early age and is the son of a racer from San Jose California. Influenced by driver Dan Gurney and athlete Muhammad Ali he was confident, skilled, and would not bow to anyone. Not only could he drive fast but when thrown challenges of switching racing and car styles he adapted quickly. He would race in Trans Am (140 mph), Nascar (160 mph) and Formula 4 (165 mph). But his dream was to race in a Formula 1 car (230 mph). 
I watched his story in the documentary “Uppity” and it is amazing to see what determination and skill he had when being faced with unsurmountable odds. The majority of the big races such as Daytona and  Taladega were seeped in a deeply racist South. People spat near him, wrote racial slurs in the stalls, and called in death threats towards him. But the racism went beyond ignorance and stupidity. It was and is structural. They kept him from getting the proper equipment, denied sponsorship, and sabotaged his efforts. Why? Because he was fast and he beat them in a fair race. He was called “uppity” because he questioned all of this and demanded to be treated with respect. 
A few prominent people saw his talent and stepped in to help him break down walls such as Jim Trueman (racer), Paul Newman (actor), and Bill Cosby (actor) before the charges. What Willy achieved is inspiring. Joey Ray helped pave the way for Black folks in racing, and Willy paved the way for cats like Lewis Hamilton today. Please give him his flowers as he’s still around and pushing for the sport of racing to be more diverse!
Sources: Uppity-Documentary film, CNN, Beyond The Grid Podcast
Did you catch the piece on OG Phase2? Did you see the video I made about this art challenge called Black Is Beautiful?