WINSTON-SALEM – At first it sounds unlikely – a historically black university training NASCAR team members?
But it’s true: Winston-Salem State University, in fact, is the only public university in the country to offer a four-year degree in Motorsports Management. The program encompasses racing operations as well as marketing and management.
“It is hard to separate the two because of Bowman Gray Stadium,” WSSU Chancellor Elwood Robinson says in the accompanying video. “Those two have been intertwined for so long.”
For nearly 80 years, NASCAR has raced at Bowman Gray, which has also served as Winston-Salem State’s football stadium since 1956. WSSU launched its Motorsports Management program in 2004, and the partnership continues – city and university officials recently announced plans for $9 million in improvements.1
“What a great marriage,” Robinson says.
“Think about some of the areas in which NASCAR are weak, or they struggle in – the whole notion of diversity. And they also are an organization and an institution who believes in that.2 We’re an organization and institution that we believe are preparing the workforce to be more diverse – that’s what we do at Winston-Salem State University.”
And with the debut this year of driver Bubba Wallace, African-American students at WSSU finally see a driver who looks like them.3
“It’s a strange marriage when you look at it, but it works and it makes sense,” Robinson says.
“And it speaks so much to what is happening in 2020 – it is so 2020-ish, right? – to be able to have these two institutions come together to do something special like that.”