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Bill Lester, the African-American who gave up a high-tech management career to compete full-time as a racecar driver, will speak at the Old Dominion University Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m.

Lester, who drives the No. 22 Toyota Tundra for Bill Davis Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will address his talk primarily to young engineering students, but the public is invited, as well. ODU offers an undergraduate minor and a graduate degree in motor sports engineering.

Oktay Baysal, dean of the engineering college, said students from Norfolk State University and Hampton University also have been invited to hear and meet Lester.

The talk will be in Room 100, Kaufman Hall. A reception outside Room 100 will follow about 3 p.m.

Lester will be in Virginia next week preparing for the NCTS 200 at the Richmond International Speedway on Thursday.

A native of Washington, D. C., Lester earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984 and went to work afterwards for Hewlett-Packard Co. While working for the company and racing on weekends, he won the Sports Car Club of America Series Northern California Region Rookie of the Year title and competed in the International Motor Sports Association GTO series.

Lester was a Hewlett-Packard project manager when he decided to go full-time into racing. He got his first big NASCAR chance in 1999 when he raced in the Busch Grand National Series race at Watkins Glen, N.Y. In 2000, NASCAR called him again, this time to the truck series.

This article was posted on: August 31, 2005

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.