Willy T. Ribbs to Appear at SEMA Show

Willy T. Ribbs to Appear at SEMA Show | THE SHOPRacecar driver Willy T. Ribbs will share his story of overcoming adversity during a special Fireside Chat with moderator Beth Paretta of Paretta Autosport at the 2023 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, show organizers announced.

The Fireside Chat will take place on Nov. 2, in the North Hall (Room N258) beginning at 11 a.m., as part of the SEMA Show Education program. Ribbs will share his story as a pioneer in motorsports, shattering barriers and paving the way for generations of racecar drivers, organizers said.

“The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my career is to never quit on yourself, because the only person who’s going to beat you is you,” said Ribbs. “That’s a lesson that applies in life as well as on the racetrack, and I’m looking forward to sharing that with SEMA Show attendees.”

Ribbs has competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the IndyCar Series and the IMSA GT Championship. He is the first African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, win a major professional race in the United States and to drive a Formula One racecar.

“Willy T. Ribbs has changed the landscape of motorsports,” said Pamela Brown-Matthis, SEMA director of education. “His personal story of resolve, to never quit or allow yourself to be defeated, will certainly resonate with our members as they look to successfully navigate challenges in the industry.”

Ribbs will be joined onstage by moderator Beth Paretta, CEO and team principal at Paretta Autosport, the first woman-owned, woman-driven and woman-forward team in IndyCar history.

The Fireside Chat is free for all 2023 SEMA Show attendees.

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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