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WSSU junior is first recipient of motorsports scholarship that aims to diversify the industry

BWG Racing started with conversation that led to inclusive movement

Ask Virgil Bryant what he likes about motorsports racing and without hesitation he starts to rattle off: it’s the smell of the fuel, the revving of the engines, the squealing of the tires, the drivers – everything.

Equally important, he said it was the most fun he had in years when he attended his first NASCAR race.

Bryant is a junior at Winston-Salem State University, double majoring in information technology and motorsports management. He is the first recipient of the new BWG Scholarship.

BWG Racing Inc. created the BWG Scholarship Fund in 2023. BWG Racing’s official start was in 2004, but it’s beginning can be traced back to 1999 in the parking lot of the Phoenix International Raceway.

“Four brothers of African American descent were tailgating when they were approached by some white guys who struck up a conversation,” according to BWG Racing’s website. “That simple conversation of two different racial backgrounds at a motorsports event grew into an inclusive friendship which was the beginning of BWG Racing Inc.” BWG stands for “Brothers and White Guys Racing.”

“We are passionate and committed to providing this financial investment for current and future students who are interested in this profession,” said Dale Avery, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of BWG Racing. “Our goal is to support the dreams and aspirations of high achieving young men and women who aspire to pursue careers in the motorsports industry.”

The group’s mission is to enhance diversity within the motorsports community and create a positive experience for all race attendees.

The kind of experience that left an indelible impression on Bryant when he attended his first race at the Martinsville Motor Speedway in 2021. Dr. Clay Harshaw, WSSU associate professor and Motorsports Management Program coordinator, provided him tickets through Ford so that he could have his first NASCAR race experience.

Bryant admits that the environment is not a natural feeling for African Americans, so he appreciates the efforts of BWG Racing and other endeavors to diversify motorsports.

Winston-Salem State University is the only public university in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in motorsports management. In addition to business courses, motorsports management majors complete courses in all aspects of the profession including operational logistics, organizational management, media and public relations, events management, sales and marketing. Students engage in a minimum of 480 internship hours as a capstone to their learning. Approximately 100% of WSSU’s motorsports management majors secure full-time employment in the industry within six months after graduation.

Bryant would love to see what it feels like to be behind the wheel. He is good friends with Rajah Caruth, a WSSU student and the first professional NASCAR driver to represent an HBCU (Historical Black College or University). What Carruth is doing demonstrates what is possible for him, he said.

“To be in the same age bracket as him (Caruth) shows you that nothing is impossible. He’s come far and put in the effort,” Bryant said.

But Bryant’s heart and soul is in the mechanics of cars. He said he would love to do research on the back end to enhance the safety and protection of racecar drivers.

Ever since he was a child, he’s been fascinated by cars. One of his favorite movies as a child was “Cars.” His parents called him “destructo king” because he liked to dismantle cars to see how they functioned.

Now years later, his academic journey at WSSU aligns with his passion. If it were not for the BWG scholarship, Bryant said he is not sure he would have returned to school because it wasn’t “cost effective” as an out-of-state student from Jersey City, N.J.

“It’s been maturing,” he said, “growing up from a boy to a man with no physical support next to me.” He was recruited to WSSU to possibly play football and still has aspirations of being on the team.

His faith is the wind beneath his wings, and he is guided by an environmental consciousness as well.

After he earns his graduate degree, he wants to be a part of the “new transportation of the century.” Electric cars are good, but lithium batteries are not good for the environment, he said. “They are not degradable.” He would like to have a hand in developing new modalities to operate cars.

In part to the BWG Scholarship, the door to education remains open for Bryant.

“This partnership with BWG Racing is welcomed and appreciated,” Harshaw said. “This is the first group to establish a scholarship fund to help us with the recruitment and retention of motorsports management students.”

The motorsports industry is a massive economic force in North Carolina, Harshaw said. “It is important for us as a state institution to support that industry. Having the motorsports management program at WSSU helps to develop students into competent and creative personnel for the industry.”

The BWG Scholarship Fund provides annual support to motorsports management selected majors with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, said Dr. LaTanya Afolayan, vice chancellor of university advancement. The renewable award is available to all classifications of students. The average award amount is $1,000 per year, she said.

There is also a BWG Operating Fund that provide resources for departmental equipment, student travel, and professional enrichment opportunities, she said.

“Our families and friends are excited about our advocacy on behalf of student success at WSSU,” Avery said. “We plan to share the WSSU story and help the university recruit and retain more Motorsports Management majors. We believe that our investment in these young men and women will inspire others to join us to build a cadre of young men and women who will make significant contributions to this profession across the country.”

To donate to the BWG Scholarship or operating fund, visit and select BWG Racing from the scholarship menu tab, or BWG Operating from the operating menu tab; or

Call (336) 750-3132 to contribute by phone or for more information.



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