because I always
have the mentality
that I can do anything on
The money was, and is, there because Stewart was winning and because sponsors have clamored to attach themselves to a unique athlete — a black man in a white man’s sport who rides at breakneck speeds. But Stewart is not just a daredevil; he’s an innovator. Among other things, he reinterpreted a move called “the scrub” — a move where riders twist their bikes when going over a jump so as to push themselves back toward the ground as fast as possible. Stewart performed that so-called “Bubba Scrub” plenty of times on his reality series, Bubba’s World, which aired for one season on Fuel TV.
“I have never wanted people to accept me just because I look different,” Stewart says. “I wanted them to accept me because I was a great motorcycle racer. With me, there is an excitement level. You don’t know what is going to happen. You just want to watch.”
Many more people are, in fact, watching, in no small part thanks to Stewart. Supercross — the glam, indoor, winter counterpart to muddier, grittier outdoor Motocross that Stewart also competes in — had record TV ratings in 2012, and Supercross events at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta sold out last year, contributing to record attendance.
“When I got into this, you could look around the stadium and there would maybe be one black person there,” Stewart says. “Now there is a mix, and there are other black kids racing.”