Melissa Harville-Lebron: The First African American To Solely Own A Nascar Race Team
Written by gphradio on March 14, 2018
The First African American To Solely Own A Nascar Race Team
By: Turjemia Robinson
Melissa Harville-Lebron, is the first African American woman to solely own a race team licensed by NASCAR. She says her journey into auto racing began unexpectedly when she took her sons to a NASCAR event at Charlotte Super Speedway.
“I got invited to a NASCAR experience and I brought my boys along thinking that it would discourage them from driving,” she told Black Enterprise. But “it did not work that way.”
At first, she held hopes of deterring them from taking up such a dangerous hobby. Instead, the experience only piqued her sons’ interests, eventually leading her into investing thousands of dollars. She wanted to develop her own team after witnessing the passion that her sons held for racing. She wanted to help them follow their heart. As she deeply researched the sport’s history, she discovered its lack of diversity. There were little to no drivers of color, let alone an owner of a team. Its lack of diversity compelled her to fill the gap.
It all began when Melissa Harville-Lebron, a 47-year-old single mother of three, started her career as an intern at Sony Music. She suffered from a severe asthma attack nearly a decade later and the health scare forced her into early retirement. It also inspired her to launch an entertainment company, W.M. Stone Enterprises Inc., in 2014.
She also created E2 Northeast Motorsports under the umbrella of W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc. The E2 Northeast Motorsports team became the first multicultural team to race competitively in NASCAR. Two of the drivers are Harville-Lebron’s sons, Eric and Enico.
“It’s important for our culture to push generational wealth to our children. It’s important to lead by example. All too often our children see negative images of our culture and I think it’s very important for people of our culture actually succeeding in business,” she said.
What an amazing success story!