Thursday, February 10, 2022

In His Own Words - Bill Lester

In His Own Words - Bill Lester

Winning in Reverse: Defying Odds and Achieving Dreams



As America continues to grapple with racism in the world of sports and beyond, Bill Lester, a Black pioneer in NASCAR racing, offers us new insight into his personal journey with Winning in Reverse: Defying Odds and Achieving Dreams – The Bill Lester Story. NASCAR has traditionally been a southern, white man’s sport, but it was knocked off its axis when Bill Lester entered the playing field.



Bill did not grow up in the sport as so many other drivers have. He enjoyed racing as a side hobby while he worked as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard until, at the age of 40, standing on the brink of peril or promise, he quit his job to pursue racing full time. Blessed with a natural talent, Bill still had a trifecta of odds against him: he was Black, he was middle aged, and he was not a southerner.


Bill was certainly not the quintessential “good old boy” that NASCAR was used to seeing, and many fans did not hide their contempt. In Winning in Reverse, Bill Lester describes how he was able to rise above it all – as his rankings rose, too – and make history time and again, becoming the first African American to race in NASCAR’s Busch Series, the first to participate in the Nextel Cup, and the first to win a Pole Position start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Ever the optimist, Bill’s voice provides new inspiration and guidance about how to overcome adversity.


About the Authors

Bill Lester was born in Washington, D.C. attended University of California Berkeley. Before becoming a professional race car driver, he worked Hewlett- Packard. Lester competed in NASCAR and IMSA, two of America’s most prestigious racing series and earned six podium finishes and one victory during his 10 full seasons. Bill has received various awards including “Trailblazer in Motor Sports” and the “Jackie Robinson Award” award from the Rainbow/PUSH organization and the “Sam Lacy Pioneer Award” from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2013. He was a broadcast analyst for Fox Sports South show Around the Track and the NBC Sports show NASCAR America.


Recognized for his definitive books and articles on motor racing, Atlanta author Jonathan Ingram has written eight books, including CRASH! part of the library collection at the National Museum of American History, and is the winner of awards from the National Motorsports Press Association and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.


source: Lester PR


I remember racing with Bill Lester for the first time in 1998. Being unfamiliar with the name, I assumed he was a long time journeyman road racer who was looking for a new challenge in stock cars. Turns out his journey was anything but typical. Deciding to become a professional stock car driver in your 40s is next to impossible. In the pages of this book you’ll learn Bill is a determined enthusiastic individual whose passion to succeed made the impossible a reality.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.



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