help_outline Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List

News / Articles

Archon Bill Lester first black man to win NASCAR/Grand-Am event in 50 Years

 | Published on 5/18/2011

Orlando's Bill Lester first black man to win Grand-Am event

Staff reports

9:50 PM EDT, May 15, 2011

Orlando resident Bill Lester has made history.

Lester on Saturday teamed up with Apopka's Jordan Taylor to win the Rolex Series' GT class in the Bosch Engineering 250. The win at Virginia International Raceway made Lester the first black man to take the checkered flag at a Grand-Am Road Racing event.

"We're ecstatic," Lester said. "Everything came together for us. We knew at the beginning of the season that this team had a lot of potential."

Lester and Taylor co-drove the Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to the win in the Rolex Series' class for production-based machines. In addition to Lester's milestone, it also marked the first Grand-Am win for both the Autohaus organization and Taylor.

Adding to the moment, the victory came in Danville, Va., the hometown of auto racing pioneer Wendell Scott, the only African-American to win a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"I'm sure that the Scott family would be happy about what I was able to accomplish," Lester said. "I actually spent some time at the Scott residence in Danville and saw Wendell's old garage and sat in one of his race cars. It was quite an honor for me. They might not necessarily have seen the race, but hopefully they get word of it."

Lester's win was part of an eventful day for the Rolex Series. The Action Express Racing trio of Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and J.C. France co-drove a Porsche/Riley to the overall and Daytona Prototype class victory, ending the six-race win streak of reigning series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas from Chip Ganassi Racing.

But Lester's win was the highlight of the day.

"I was actually fortunate enough to help induct Wendell Scott into the National Sports Hall of Fame," Lester said. "I've been fortunate enough to have been influenced by him. Even though this is a different type of racing, the fact of the matter is that I'm glad that I was able to represent for minorities, basically, across the board.

"But that's not what I'm all about. The fact is that I'm just really proud that everything was able to come together. We've shown flashes of brilliance and this time we were able to put a dot over the 'i.'"