Willy T. Ribbs
Infobox racing driver
name = Willy T. Ribbs, Jr.
nationality = flagicon|USA American
date of birth = Birth date and age|1955|1|3
place of birth =
San Jose, California
date of death =
retired = 2001
related to =
last series =
years active = 1990-1994
Raynor Motorsports Walker Racing
starts = 46
wins = 0
poles = 0
fastest laps =
best finish = 17th
year = 1991
prev series =
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Indy Racing League IndyCar Series NASCAR Winston Cup Trans-Am Series
prev series years = 2001
title years =
award years =
William "Willy" Theodore Ribbs, Jr. (born
January 3, 1955in San Jose, California) is an African-American racecardriver who competed in many forms of auto racing. After retiring, he became a sport shooter in the National Sporting Clays Association.
Following his graduation from high school in 1975, Ribbs moved to
Europeto compete in the Formula FordSeries. He won the Dunlop Championshipin his first year of competition, then returned to the United States. Lowe's Motor Speedwaypresident Humpy Wheelerentered Ribbs to drive a Winston Cupcar owned by Will Cronkitein the 1978 World 600at the Charlotte track. After Ribbs skipped two practice sessions and was arrested for evading police when he drove the wrong way down a one way street, Cronkite replaced him with Dale Earnhardt. [cite news |url=http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/headlines/cup/05/20/1978.coca.cola.600/index.html |title= Ribbs' wrong turn... |date= 2008-05-20]
Ribbs went on to race
Formula Atlanticcars, winning the pole in the Long Beach Formula Atlanticrace in 1982. The following year, Ribbs won five races in the SCCATrans-Am Series and was honored as Pro Rookie of the Year. Ribbs would attempt NASCAR again in 1986, running three races in the #30 Red Roof Innscar owned by DiGard Motorsports. His best finish came at his debut, a 22nd at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Also in 1986, Ribbs became the first Black person to drive a
Formula Onecar, when he tested for the Brabhamteam at the Autódromo do Estoril, Portugal. [cite news |url=http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2006/09/14/first-black-formula-one-driver/ |title= First black Formula One driver... |author=Keith Collantine |date= 2006-09-24|accessdate=2006-09-24 |publisher=F1Fanatic.co.uk] .
In 1990, Ribbs joined the
CARTcircuit in a car owned by comedian Bill Cosby. Ribbs had two top-10 events that season, and in 1991, he became the first African-American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. He raced there a second time in 1993. After being released from the team in 1994, he continued in the CART series with another team, finishing in the top 10 at Michigan International Speedwayand Denver Grand Prixraces.
Also in 1990, Ribbs was involved in an unfortunate incident during the
Molson Indy Vancouverwhere a track marshal was killed. The track worker, Jean Patrick Hein, was pushing another car off the track when he unfortunately darted in front of Ribbs' car, was run over, and killed.
In 1999, Ribbs raced in an
Indy Racing Leagueevent at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, finishing 26th after a crash. After three top-10s in the SCCA in 2000, Ribbs signed to drive the #8 Dodge Ramfor Bobby Hamilton Racingin the Craftsman Truck Series. Driving 23 out of 24 races, Ribbs had a best finish of 13th, and finished 16th in points.
In May 2006, a newspaper column by
Jason Whitlockof Knight-Ridderquoted Ribbs detailing his criticism of NASCAR and his lauding of the Indianapolis 500. Ribbs created controversy by referring to NASCAR as Al-Qaida, "Neckcar", and WWE. [ [http://motorsports-soapbox.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_archive.html Motorsports Soapbox blog (June 3, 2006): "Willy T. Who?" by Dave Moody] ]
Disney Channelcartoon " The Proud Family", Penny Proud and her friends attend "Willy T. Ribbs Middle School," where the mascot is the "Racer."
* [http://www.willytribbs.com Official Website]
* [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/misc/where/stories/052306dnspowherenow.123a22a5.html "Dallas Morning News" (May 23, 2006): "Where Are They Now? Indy 500 driver Willy T. Ribbs now shoots for the top", by Chuck Carlton]
* [http://www.racing-reference.info/driver?id=ribbswi01 NASCAR statistics]
* [http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=169 The HistoryMakers]
Lewis Hamilton, first black driver to compete in a Formula One race.
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