Winning in Reverse: Defying the Odds and Achieving Dreams-The Bill Lester Story

Winning in Reverse: Defying the Odds and Achieving Dreams-The Bill Lester Story


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The amazing and dramatic story of Bill Lester, one of the most well-known NASCAR drivers in history—and a pioneer whose determination and spirit has paved the way for a new generation of racers.

NASCAR has traditionally been a southern, white man’s sports, 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 had. He enjoyed racing as a side hobby while he worked as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard until, at the age of 40, and while standing on the brink of peril or promise, he quit his job to pursue racing full time.

Blessed with natural talent, Bill still had a trifecta of odds against him: he was black, he was middle aged, and he wasn’t a southerner. Bill was not the quintessential “good old boy” that NASCAR was used to seeing and many fans did not hide their contempt for him.

Bill Lester rose above it all, as did his rankings, and he made history time and time 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 Positon start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

In Winning In Reverse, Bill reveals how he came to love working on muscle cars as a child, racing in the streets as a teenager, getting married, pursuing amateur racing and then finally transitioning to the pros. Readers will be inspired by Bill's inspirational and encouraging voice and the conviction that fills each page.

Whether you are contemplating a career or lifestyle change, challenging social norms, or struggling against prejudice or bigotry, Winning in Reverse is a story for sports fans and readers everywhere about the power of perserverance in the face of adversity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643136400
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 02/02/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 149,195
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

A Glossary of Racing Terms ix

Introduction: How I Defied the Motor Racing Odds xxi

1 Qualifying for My Big league Debut 1

2 An Early Need for Speed 9

3 A Teenage Life with Gars 21

4 Racing Through Engineering School 35

5 Seeing Sky on Skyline Blvd 51

6 Silicon Valley Life 61

7 The Influence of Willy T. Ribbs 75

8 Moving Up to the Pro Ranks 85

9 Love and Happiness at Home 97

10 First Rolex 24, Meeting Ed Rensi 109

11 CART Calamity, Shifting to NASCAR 115

12 Trucking with Dodge 129

13 Toyota Transition 147

14 Preparing for 2006 161

15 Racing into History 173

18 Final Cup Races 187

17 Cup Aftermath (Stars and Bars…and Boos) 195

18 Diversity Adversity 205

19 The Bare Minimum 215

20 Returning to First Love-Sports Cars 225

21 A Historic Season 237

22 BT Championship Pursuit 253

23 Is There A Future for Black Race Car Drivers? 263

Epilogue: Final Reflections 275

Acknowledgments 277

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