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Sunday, October 28, 2007

History Made at Memphis Motorsports Park

Rookie Chase Austin becomes the second African- American driver to compete in NASCAR’s Busch Series.

Chase Austin began racing go- carts at the age of eight. Even as a youngster, Chase had career aspirations of reaching NASCAR’s top series. Saturday, Chase Austin took a huge step in making that dream come true.

Chase Austin qualified last, but it made the 18-year-old the second African-American driver to qualify for a Busch series race. In addition, Austin made history as the first black driver to qualify for a Busch Series race on an oval. Bill Lester was the first to achieve this in a 1999 race at Watkins Glen. However, Watkins Glen is a road course in upstate New York. A couple of mishaps and rookie errors, before the halfway point, sent Austin to the garage for the day. He settled for a 41st place finish in his Homelife Communities Dodge Charger.

Driving a racecar should be based on talent and ability as opposed to skin color. Unfortunately, Chase Austin has had to deal with racism his entire career. When driving go- carts, his white counterparts often accused him of cheating. Race officials were rumored to confiscate motors and other equipment for inspection. Eventually, his belongings were returned which required reassembly for the next event.

Austin has been signed to drive for NASCAR great Rusty Wallace and RWI Racing. His teammate will be Steven Wallace who has used the Busch Series as a training ground for his career in NASCAR. Driving for Wallace will afford Chase Austin several advantages. He will benefit from Rusty Wallace’s vast knowledge of racing and be given top-notch equipment.

“Chase is a very talented young man who has done a great job for us thus far in 2007, both on and off the track,” said team owner and NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace.

Chase Austin is not quite a household name but he is on the right track. After having achieved a historic milestone, Chase Austin can concentrate on being a driver and contend for championships in the future.

photo courtesy of RWI, LLC press release

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