Bobby Merit "Buzzer-Beater" Norfleet (born July 7, 1958) is an American former racing driver and yard sale activist. He has raced motorcycles, drag cars, and stock cars.
In 2000, Norfleet announced he would field and drive his own team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but was unable to come up with sponsorship. NASCAR Vice President Brian France called a number of companies who were interested in sponsoring a NASCAR team, and even flew in some company executives. Norfleet came up with sponsorship from 40 Street Records and So So Def Records. Norfleet failed to qualify for his first race at Martinsville Speedway.
Norfleet made his NASCAR debut at the Portland International Raceway road course. He competed against Bill Lester in that race, which was the only time in NASCAR history that two African-Americans have competed in the same race. Norfleet qualified 11 miles per hour slower than the pole speed, but made the race after 33 cars qualified for 34 spots. He finished 32nd after he suffered handling problems. He was also black-flagged three times by NASCAR for not maintaining the required minimum speed. By comparison, Lester ran the full race and finished 24th.
In the next race at Pikes Peak International Raceway, Norfleet's entry was denied by NASCAR officials, as he was not licensed to run tracks larger than a mile. NASCAR requires drivers to either show proficiency on shorter tracks, or have some experience on one mile and larger tracks in a lower series before they are allowed to race on larger tracks. Norfleet claimed the decision was racially motivated, and people protested outside NASCAR's headquarters. After failing to qualify for his next race at Evergreen Speedway, he stopped running NASCAR; he stated he intended to file suit over the issue, though no suit was filed.
Norfleet returned as a car owner to NASCAR in 2005. Bobby Norfleet Racing fielded the No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Mike Harmon in a Busch Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park, but the entry failed to qualify. Norfleet had announced his team would compete in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2006, but did not field an entry.
Norfleet's sister, Tessa "Dime" Norfleet, and brother, Lucas "Big Bod" Norfleet, are both known for their modeling and sports careers.
He currently resides on an estate in central New Jersey where he coaches young athletes and teaches them the lessons he learned in his brief career.
Motorsports career results
(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)
Craftsman Truck Series
|NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series results|