Bill Lester Is Making an Unprecedented and Exciting Return to NASCAR After 14 Years

Bill Lester might significantly raise the median age at an upcoming NASCAR race.

Lester, a longtime driver in the Truck Series, is returning for one race later this month. Although he is 60 years old, and it’s been nearly 15 years since he participated in a NASCAR race, Lester is ready to roll.

Bill Lester is returning to NASCAR for one race

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For the first time in 14 years, Bill Lester is ready to get behind the wheel at a Truck Series event. 

Lester, who turned 60 in February, will drive the No. 17 Ford F-150 for David Gilliland Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 20. A former full-time driver in the Truck Series, Lester has not raced in a NASCAR event since August 2007. 

NASCAR’s official website shared comments that Lester made about his brief return to the sport.

“It’s been more than a few years since my last race in the series, but to have strong partners like the Greater Atlanta Ford Dealers, Camping World, and Tommy’s Express Car Wash joining me for my return means a lot and I am honored to have them on-board. I look forward to competing at my home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and hope to make all those who are supporting me proud.”

Lester totaled seven top-10 finishes in 142 races over eight years in the Truck Series from 2000-07. He participated in two races at the Cup Series level for Bill Davis Racing in 2006 but never finished higher than 32nd. 

Lester has been a busy man since leaving racing

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Although he last raced in 2007, Bill Lester has been very busy in the years since then. 

Lester, who was NASCAR’s only full-time Black driver for much of his career, participated in the Sports Car Series from 2007-12. He published his autobiography, Winning in Reverse: Defying the Odds and Achieving Dreams, last month. 

Lester also made the media rounds last year to discuss racism and politics in NASCAR. In an interview with USA Today last summer, Lester praised Bubba Wallace, the only full-time driver at the Cup Series level who is Black. 

Lester said he had spoken with Wallace and explained he wanted to help NASCAR’s attempts at diversity and inclusion. 

“Bubba can’t shoulder all this himself. He is worn out. I’ve seen it. I’ve texted with him. The toll it’s taking on him is immense,” Lester said.

“I know what it’s like to be in that position. I’ve indicated to NASCAR that I’m there for them. I believe in the sport.”

Bill Lester won’t be the oldest NASCAR driver to race

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Bill Lester will race at 60 years old, but that is nothing compared to other drivers in recent years.

Hershel McGriff set a NASCAR record in May 2018 when he raced in the Pro Series West Event in Arizona at age 90. McGriff played the national anthem on his trombone before the race and placed 18th in the actual event.

Morgan Shepherd participated in two Cup Series races during the 2014 season at age 72. His final race came that July, when he placed 39th out of 43 in the Camping World RV Sales 301.

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