Bill Lester returns to NASCAR to compete in Atlanta Truck race

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Fourteen years after his last NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Bill Lester will return to compete in Saturday’s Truck race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The 60-year-old Lester was the only Black driver competing full-time in NASCAR’s Truck Series when he ran from 2002-06. He ran a partial season in 2007. Lester drove 142 races in the series, scoring seven top-10 finishes. He also ran one Xfinity race.

Lester made two Cup starts in 2006. He made his Cup debut on March 20, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He became the first Black driver to race in NASCAR’s premier series in 20 years and sixth in series history at the time. Lester started 19th and finished 38th. His only other Cup start came later that year at Michigan. He started 34th and finished 32nd.

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Lester, whose “motivational memoir” book “Winning in Reverse” was published in February, will make his return to NASCAR driving the No. 17 Ford for David Gilliland Racing.

“I’m excited to get back behind the wheel in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and I want to thank David Gilliland Racing for their help in making this happen,” Lester said in a statement from the team. “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.”

The Truck race is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Atlanta as part of a doubleheader with the Xfinity Series. The Xfinity race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET Saturday.