I believe it was Bill in Cora Beth Abel's presentation: Three steps to systemic improvement ...
The context was that by having students (and teachers) engage in inquiry based lessons that they will learn an enormous about of STEM principles and content. It was a terrific Shop Talk!
Correct Alisa! Building the world's fastest car is just an example of a "hook" for students to get engaged in a project of interest which requires math, science, engineering or technology to make it even more interesting.
Here is a Web site that shares where this term was coined: http://www.primaryengineer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=95 (well according to them anyway:)