Not a lot of people know that one of the leaders who has made nationwide contributions to showing just how much science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) impact daily life in America is Dave Steward, 2012 Black Engineer of the Year.
Steward is the chairman of the board and founder of World Wide Technology (WWT), one of the largest Black-owned companies in the U.S. that sponsors Bubba Wallace.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., photographed with his father in a June 2020 photo posted on Twitter, is a professional stock car racing driver. He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving
the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Richard Petty Motorsports. On Nov. 8, 2017, Wallace pinned the above tweet to his official Twitter feed.
“There is only 1 driver from an African American background at the top level of our sport..I am the 1. You’re not gonna stop hearing about “the black driver” for years. Embrace it, accept it and enjoy the journey.”— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace)
This week, FOX Sports released a video short that is taking Twitter by storm.
“Who is Bubba Wallace?” is voiced by Bob Pockrass. The almost five minute video posted on July 7 has had more than 181, 200 views. Bob Pockrass reveals the man behind the headlines, wrote FOX Sports.
“You know NASCAR’s @BubbaWallace… even if you don’t really know him. @BobPockrass reveals the man behind the headlines.” — FOX Sports (@FOXSports)
While some responses applauded the Nov 8, 2017 tweet lauding Wallace’s breakthrough in racing, and praised FOX Sports for producing a biopic that would be great for kids, new fans, and future drivers watching all over the world, critics challenged what they see as disproportionate emphasis being placed on what appeared to be an incidence of workplace harassment: a noose was found in the garage of Wallace before a recent race at Talladega. In response, some Black Twitter users indicated that its wrong to ignore the factors affecting and shaping society. Below is the statement that NASCAR issued on June 23.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
On June 23, Richard Petty Motorsports, a professional stock car racing team that competes in the NASCAR Cup Series, tweeted.
“Proud of you, @BubbaWallace. Keep on smiling!!” — Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports)
Two Octobers ago, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. was the new driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet made famous by team co-owner, “The King” Richard Petty. Wallace, then 24, had broken barriers and racing records throughout his rise within the sport.
Seen right in this undated photo with his parents on his Instagram page, Wallace Jr. is a graduate of both NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs. He became the first African-American driver in 50 years to win a NASCAR national touring series feature since NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott.
“This is a dream come true to race for ‘The King’, Richard Petty Motorsports, the iconic No. 43 and for all the fans and partners that have and continue to support this team,” said Wallace in a statement. “I believe in what Richard Petty Motorsports is doing and their desire to win races. I believe this team, its partners and fans are ready to see some great things again. I’m humbled that they have chosen me to take that next step with them.”
In the summer of 2018, Wallace and his team at Richard Petty Motorsports announced a deal with World Wide Technology (WWT), an information technology and data analytics company co-founded by Steward.
According to SportTechie, during those races, the No. 43 car and team had the WWT branding and the company’s “Silicon Valley in St. Louis” tagline. In exchange, WWT will help Wallace’s team improve performance by providing data analytics consulting and technology solutions, SportTechie said.
“We have hired a lot of different drivers in the past, but Wallace brings a lot of youth and talent to our team,” Petty said in a statement. “He’s proven at a young age to be able to be consistent on a weekly basis, give feedback to the team to help improve the car and race hard to get the best finish possible. He knows how to win, too.”
At the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, Wallace and No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet finished 14th in the first stage. In the second stage, he was one position better in 13th, according to FrontStretch.