Stunning SUFFOLK, VA native NASCAR Driver TIA NORFLEET covers the new issue of ROLLING OUT!!!
Here are some interview highlights:
When did you first fall in love with being behind the wheel of a car?
As a child, your dreams change on a daily basis. Around the age of 5, my dad introduced me to the idea of driving fast. I think when I was 14 or 15 I realized I could make a career out of it and that it was one of my passions.
What was it like to grow up as a child of a NASCAR racer?
For me, it was the norm. I really didn’t pay attention to anything outside of it until it was brought into my home. My dad is a very strong individual that speaks his mind and I get a lot of my traits from him. Back then, it was just normal for me, but now when I look back on it, [I] realize there were some times when he was being judged and criticized for that particular trait.
What do you mean criticized?
A lot of people looked at him as if he should have played the part that other people wanted him to play, and he’s just not that type of person. He’s going to be himself no matter what anyone else says. He’s the headstrong, confident man that will do what he feels is right. He will go after his vision, and when people don’t agree and feel threatened by it, they try to blackball and sabotage him. I just looked at it as a lesson because I have it a lot easier than my dad, and he has it a lot easier than the people who came before him.
How did you take your dream and turn it into reality?
I listened and took heed to what my dad showed me. He taught me everything I know about motorsports. He taught me the game and encouraged me to look at it from a business standpoint.
How does one prepare to be in motorsports?
For me, it’s a little different than most because I am a nontraditional driver, so I have nontraditional opportunities.
How hard is it to break into NASCAR?
It’s very hard to break into NASCAR. It is a sponsor-driven sport and a lot of the drivers in NASCAR already come from money, so it’s not really that hard [for them] to get a sponsor. But for an underprivileged driver and regular middle-class citizen like myself, it’s harder to get into it because the money it takes to compete is not money that we normally have in our bank accounts.
How much money does it take to compete?
It depends on the class that you’re in. There are different levels to NASCAR and that’s what a lot of people don’t really understand. Sprint Cup is the highest level of NASCAR. Then you have your Whelen Series, your K&N Series, your Truck Series, your Nationwide Series and then your Sprint Series. So let’s just say hypothetically, you’re going to compete in a Sprint Series. You’re going to need on average about $7-10 million a year. That’s not a lot if you think about it, but you have to have tires, a pit crew and everything else. It gets pretty expensive.