The last few months have seen a growing number of Black celebrities becoming NASCAR team owners. In 2020, NBA legend Michael Jordan announced that he and NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin have teamed up to form a new racing team and recruited Bubba Wallace to be its driver.
Jordan’s move into NASCAR was followed by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, who became an official NASCAR owner of The Money Team Racing. The Money Team Racing subsequently made its debut on the Daytona 500 speedway in February this year.
The latest Black celebrity keen on becoming a NASCAR team owner is an army veteran and entrepreneur, Phyllis Newhouse, according to Sports Business Journal. Newhouse, who has a net worth of $7 million, has reportedly been in talks with multiple teams, track owners, and the governing body for months.
If the deal goes through, she would be among the first Black women investors in the history of NASCAR, following in the steps of Jennifer Satterfield-Siegel, who held the position of vice chairperson at Rev Racing.
Newhouse grew up as the youngest child in her family. She served in the U.S. Army on various assignments. She specialized in National Security and established the Cyber Espionage Task Force. She shifted her focus to entrepreneurship despite being offered a senior-level position and became the founder of Xtreme Solutions in 2002. Within 18 months of setting up the cybersecurity firm, Newhouse was a 200-person company. It grew by at least 42 percent for eight straight years, branching out into the automotive, banking, and retail industries, according to Inc.
She also co-founded Athena Technology, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and ShoulderUp Technology Acquisition Corp., another SPAC led by industry veterans to carry out mergers, capital stock exchanges, asset acquisitions, stock purchases and reorganizations with one or more businesses in the technology and cybersecurity space, her website says.
Athena closed a $250 million IPO in March 2021, making it the only SPAC listed on the NYSE with an African American female CEO. In July 2021, the company announced it was taking concentrated solar power company, Heliogen, public in a $2 billion merger, her website adds.
Newhouse also runs mentorship and financial literacy initiatives to help young women, particularly women of color, get into investing early. She co-founded ShoulderUp, a nonprofit, to achieve this aim. The nonprofit helps these women with funding rounds. Newhouse also makes seed grants available to young women entrepreneurs.
Besides the firms she co-founded, she serves on a number of corporate boards. She was elected on the Sabre’s board of directors; she also serves as a board member for the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and on the board of Business Executives for National Security (BENS).