*Like baseball’s Jackie Robinson, Willy T. Ribbs found himself in the thick of it too, dealing with the intersection of race and sports. As we embark upon Black History Month, the racing pioneer joins SiriusXM’s Auto Trends with JeffCars.com for a wide-ranging, must-hear two-part conversation.
In pursuing his dream to become a professional race car driver, the brutally honest Ribbs didn’t allow the hue of his skin tone to hinder his ‘drive,’ no pun intended. In fact, the racing legend was known as the Jackie Robinson of the racing world.
During our riveting talk, just like in his recently released Netflix documentary entitled, ‘Uppity,’ Ribbs gives us permission to ride along with him, as he shares the bumps, roadblocks and unpaved trails he encountered on his path to becoming the first black person to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
We open our conversation with the native Californian, delving into his family background, see what role, if any at all, Ribbs believes it played in terms of how he viewed race, as a young man, while navigating the all-male, all-white sport, he would eventually find himself being immersed in.
However, before living out his dream, the biggest challenge the barrier breaker faced was going up against his millionaire grandfather, whom he respected dearly, to pursue his own path outside of the family business. Not even his father, who also dabbled in racing, was able to muster up the nerve like his son, Willy T. Ribbs, to respectfully go against the grains of the family patriarch.
As our conversation progress, Ribbs also allows us to explore the friendship he formed with the late Muhammad Ali, while both were out of the country. The racing legend even shares a personal anecdote, which caused Ali to do a double-take, being that both men are quick-witted and full of bravado.
And to conclude our conversation, Ribbs, who is a masterful storyteller, wraps up our powerhouse conversation, discussing the one thing that still really makes him bitter today, with the sport of racing. He also shares his opinion on the role the automotive community has played in diversifying the sport.
Join us over the next two weeks as we get a chance to sit at the (racing) feet of living black history maker – Willy T Ribbs.
To Tune In:
To hear part-one of the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, on Friday, February 7 at 12:00 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Channel 141. Encore broadcasts can be heard on Sunday, February 9 and Monday, February 10 at 12:00 p.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET, respectively.
Part two of the conversation continues on Friday, February 14 at 12:00 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Channel 141. Encore broadcasts can be heard on Sunday, February 16 and Monday, February 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET, respectively.
To hear the show for free, listen at 12 PM ET Saturdays on Pine Bluff, Arkansas’ 89.7 FM. The show is available online hot897pb.com.
The show airs at 1:00 PM ET Sundays on Tallahassee, Florida’s 90.5 FM.
For upcoming shows or the latest news from the automotive world, visit JeffCars.com.