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Willy T. Ribbs: first black driver to qualify for Indy 500

He also was first to test a Formula One car

10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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10:55 AMWilly T. Ribbs is the first African-American race car driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first to drive a Formula One car.

Born: Jan. 3, 1955

His story: Ribbs was born in San Jose, California. His father, William Ribbs Sr., was an amateur sports car racer. The younger Ribbs would drive his car at high speeds in the California mountains before moving to Europe after high school in 1975. He competed in the Formula Ford Series in England, winning the Dunlop Championship. In 1978, he came back to the United States and competed in the Formula Atlantic open-wheel series. He won the pole for the Formula Atlantic race in Long Beach, California, in 1982. He moved to the Trans-Am Series the next year and was named Pro Rookie of the Year after winning five races. He made his first attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1985 but ended up pulling out of the competition. He competed in three NASCAR races in 1986 and that same year became the first black racer to drive a Formula One car, testing for the Brabham team in Portugal. He joined the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1990 in a car partially funded by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1991, he finally qualified for the Indy 500. Ribbs continued to race in CART, the Indy Racing League and Trans-Am series until retirement. Ribbs was criticized during his career for his strong personality and speaking out about his NASCAR experience, often referring to NASCAR as “neckcar.”

Fast fact: Ribbs was seriously injured when he was 8 years old after an out-of-control car hit him at a racetrack.

Quotable: “I feel the same way about them that they do about me,” Ribbs once said when asked why he hates NASCAR.

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.