Orlando's Bill Lester first black man to win Grand-Am event
9:50 PM EDT, May 15, 2011
Orlando resident Bill Lester has made history.
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
But Lester's win was the highlight of the day.
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.
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.'"
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