By Jeff Fortson, host and the executive producer of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com
ATLANTA — If you’re a racing fan, you’re more than likely familiar with such history makers as Willy T. Ribbs, Wendell Scott, Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., Latrice ‘Tia’ Norfleet and Lewis Hamilton.
As Black History Month winds down and we gradually shift gears toward Women’s History Month, we are honored to have a two-part conversation with Melissa Harville-Lebron.
Unlike the previously noted names, barrier breaker Harville-Lebron has not spent countless hours on the track behind the wheel, racking up laps. She’s literally taken a different course of action to steer the wheel and break into this male-dominated sport, which lacks diversity in terms of both melanin and gender.
This mother of seven joins the ranks of a highly exclusive club, becoming one of two Black women to enter into the sisterhood of actually owning a NASCAR team. The first was Dr. Jennifer Satterfield-Siegel, who is married to Max Siegel. The married couple has fielded cars for such drivers as Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr.
The effervescent Harville-Lebron is making her mark in NASCAR as a team owner while fielding a Black and Hispanic driving team.
That’s a remarkable feat in and of itself. Growing up, the native New Yorker was not immersed in racing culture. In fact, like Eva Gabor, who played Lisa in the 1960s sitcom Green Acres (which still airs today), she was more accustomed to the big city life compared to spending time at the tracks (or in the case of Lisa on the farm). This new NASCAR pioneer life is centered around corporate America, music, fashion, ferries and the infamous New York subway system.
In a candid, wide-ranging conversation, Lebron-Harville shares with us how a career in the music industry, a near death experience — where she was advised to get her financial house in order — and a gesture of love for two of her sons, reluctantly drove her to the high-stakes, money-draining pastime.
To Tune In To Part One Of Our Black History Conversation:
To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, on Friday, February 21 at 12:00 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Channel 141. Encore broadcasts can be heard on Sunday, February 23 and Monday, February 24 at 12:00 p.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET, respectively.
To Tune In To Part Two Of Our Women’s History Conversation:
To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, on Friday, March 1 at 12:00 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Channel 141. Encore broadcasts can be heard on Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4 at 12:00 p.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET, respectively.
Cruise over to SiriusXM to find out more about free trials and how to listen in your car or on your smartphone.
About Jeff Fortson
Jeff Fortson is the host and the executive producer of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, a weekly multicultural automotive show, which airs in the both the United States and Canada. He also serves as the editor of JeffCars.com, an educational car-buying website with a new-vehicle pricing guide. Fortson, who has over 25 years of both automotive corporate and automotive retail experience, has penned several extensive car-buying guides for Black Enterprise, Ebony and Essence, three of the premier magazines in the Black community.
In April 2009, Essence recognized him as a “The Top Guru for Sound Car-Buying Advice.” His contributions and articles have also appeared in The Washington Post, Jet, Consumers Digest, BlackAmericaWeb.com, Eurweb.com and AOL.com. Added to that, he has appeared on such programs as CNN and NPR, serving in the role of an automotive analyst. Furthermore, Fortson uses his copyrighted car-buying clinic, which is housed with the Library Congress, to empower students through his signature traveling dream literacy-empowerment educational in-school modules, involving STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).