Elias Bowie

10/5/1910 - 26/1/2005

Record updated 20-Mar-23

Bowie was the first-ever African-American NASCAR driver.

Elias Bowie
Bowie was born in 1910 in San Antonio, Texas, to a laundress and a hotel porter. He was a transportation entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay, California area with a number of jitney buses and taxi cabs at a time when it was rare for African-Americans to own businesses.

A colourful character who loved his Cadillacs, Bowie awlways wore a fedora when he drove (though not in races!). He made his lone NASCAR Grand National Series start on July 31, 1955. Driving at Bay Meadows Speedway, a mile-long dirt track, Bowie completed 172 of 252 laps and finished 28th of 34 cars earning prize money worth $90 in front of 15,000 fans. He was noted for having the largest pit crew of all the drivers in the race.

Though he never achieved the success of Wendell Scott in NASCAR racing he does deserves a mention as the first-ever African-American NASCAR driver.