Nicole Lyons, 29, was exposed to street racing at an early age. Her father, Jack Davis was a well-known street racer, and she shared his passion for all things car-related. So it’s no surprise Lyons went into the dangerous but thrilling sport herself, one of few African-American women to do so.
WATCH NICOLE LYONS STORY FROM NIGHTLY NEWS HERE:
Lyons competes in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) races. Promotional images of her often feature a racing suit, perfectly coiffed hair and stilettos, portraying both her love for speed and glamour. The 29-year-old grew up in California and learned to drive at age seven. Her father would tape wooden blocks to her feet so she could reach the pedals.
Lyons knows pretty much everything there is to know about cars: she is an award-winning engine builder, even competing on the SPEED Channel’s reality show “Car Warriors” last year.
While she has said those in the racing business can make millions, she admits that being a woman of color in a male-dominated sport has its difficulties.
“You’re not hearing scrutinizing from heads of NHRA — the scrutinizing comments come from corporations,” she told Madame Noire. “A big motor vehicle company [that was considering sponsoring me] said, ‘We’d really love to sponsor you, but we’re concerned that if we part ways, black people would stop buying our vehicles.’”
Nicole Lyons is making history… as one of a handful of African-American women in street racing. In 2005, Lyons became the first black woman in professional stock racing. The following year she built an 1,100 horsepower engine, which broke records at the time. Her life-long love of cars and racing has translated into a full-time career, while her image has opened the doors of possibility to younger African-American women.
What’s next for Nicole?
Lyons continues to race and has appeared in many publications. She also heads Cole Muscle Cars, an engine building and muscle car restoration company.
A little-known fact about Nicole Lyons …
Lyons is a published poet and holds a black belt in kickboxing.
For more information about Cole Muscle Cars, THE”>click here GRIO’S Q & A WITH NICOLE LYONS
Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?
A: Racing, racing, and more racing — doing what we love combined with some reality TV shows mixed into our 36 race schedule for 2012. We will spearhead into 2012 racing in not only the NHRA and ADRL, but in NASCAR as well. This will be the first season we combine a schedule of not just drag racing but stock car as well.
Q: What’s a little fact about you that many people don’t know?
A: I love writing poetry and have published poetry. Poetry is a relaxing way for me to express myself off the track. It is a beautiful form of art, whether written or spoken.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: One of my favorite quotes is: “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” -Sun Tzu
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I get my inspiration from all things I love in my life like racing, building cars/engines, family and friends, and the real life experiences that go along with it.
Q: Who are/were your mentors?
A: My mentor is definitely my father Jack Davis, who first off was just the most amazing father, but was also my racing mentor as well. He taught me not only life lessons, but also the in’s and out’s of racing and building cars.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?
A: To be exhaustingly persistent and live with the attitude that the moment you give up might be the moment your opportunity was to going to present itself.