Wendell Scott

Wendell Scott

August 29, 1921 – December 23, 1990  First African American full-time racer in NASCAR   

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/scott-wendell-oliver-1921-1990/  https://speedsport.com/nascar/wendell-scott-to-be-honored-at-martinsville/  https://www.nascarhall.com/blog/pioneer-wendell-scott  https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/us-scene/nascar/wendell-scott-family-appeals-for-race-trophy-that-black-nascar-driver-was-denied-in-1963  

  Wendell Scott was born into a world of racing. At a young age his father, who worked as a mechanic, began to educate him about cars. This knowledge lateron played an important role in his life.  

Scott was drafted to the army to fight in World War II and upon his return to hometown, Danville, Virginia, he took up a profession that led to car racing and smuggling moonshine. This is where his automotive knowledge came into play building fast cars that could easily out-run any police car (he did this on numerous occasions). 

During this time, the race car industry was struggling in Danville and it was becoming difficult to fill the stands. As an attempt to bring in more business, the owners looked to bring in an African American driver. When the police were asked for their recommendation on a driver, Scott, was the number one vote.

 On May 23, 1952, Wendall Scott became the first African American to drive in an official stock car race. Although this race ended with a broken-down vehicle, it led Wendell down the road to racing. 

Originally Scott was denied entry to the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) because of his colour. Due to this discrimination he stuck to driving in races like the Dixie Circuit. Wendell Scott got his break into NASCAR racing by taking over the auto racing license from white driver, Mike Poston.  

On December 1, 1963 Wendell Scott became the first African American to win a race in the Sprint Cup Division at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately, he was not named the winner until a few days later when the correction was issued.  

He continued racing while frequently facing abuse from fans, he consistently placed in the top 10 among NASCAR drivers in points. In 1973, Scott was involved in a car accident that would lead to his retirement from driving. In his retirement he returned to his roots of owning an autobody shop which attracted customers from all over the country. He was inducted into the National Black Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973. 

Wendell Scott died on December 23, 1990 after battling spinal cancer leaving behind his wife and seven children. 

Wendell Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. The same year Kyle Busch Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway honoured the late Wendall Scott by having the number changed to 34 and the same blue colour ford driven by David Ragan. This was to represent Scott during his victory lap at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida.