Wendell Scott
American racing driver
Wendell Scott
Wendell Oliver Scott was an American stock car racing driver from Danville, Virginia. He is the only black driver to win a race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. According to a 2008 biography of Scott, he broke the color barrier in Southern stock car racing on May 23, 1952, at the Danville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Biography
Wendell Scott's personal information overview.
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Chester area celebrates its film history - The Herald | HeraldOnline.com
Google News - over 5 years
Chester's screen credits include "The Patriot," "Wendell Scott, A Race Story," "The Ghost Club" and "The Rest of Your Life." "I thought it would be a great thing for Chester to recognize itself," Stone said. "to celebrate our own identity
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I'm not dead, 'cause I never quit: The dirt with soulful singer T. Graham Brown - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
[Author's Note: Loosely based on Wendell Scott, the first black race-car driver to win a NASCAR race, the movie was ultimately released in July 1977 by Warner Brothers and got good reviews and remains one of Pryor's most underrated films]
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CUP: Weekly NASCAR News And Notes - SPEEDtv.com
Google News - over 5 years
29 would have been the 90th birthday of NASCAR pioneer, Wendell Scott. On Dec. 1, 1963, in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African American driver to win a NASCAR premier series race. Nationwide Milestones At Bristol: Clint Bowyer will make
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NASCAR Beginnings Featuring Buck Baker - SpeedwayMedia.com (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Although NASCAR awarded the winning trophy to Baker, the race was actually won by Wendell Scott. Hours after the event, NASCAR officials admitted that Scott had won the race. Wendell Scott went in the record books as the first and only African-American
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Adamson: Hall of Fame not limited to NASCAR - StandardNet
Google News - over 5 years
The hall is a who's who of big names in the sport of speed, and even includes pioneers such as Wendell Scott and Louise Smith. Yet its desire to stand alongside the great sports halls of fame has just never materialized, through no fault of its own
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The typical NASCAR fight is a handbag affair - The Birmingham News - al.com
Google News - over 5 years
Gone are the days when Wendell Scott carried a pistol with him during a race to warn off a white driver who didn't think a black driver belonged in NASCAR. Those were the days before TV covered every race live, before every fan walking around the
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Schools chief choice delayed - Kennebec Journal
Google News - over 5 years
WINTHROP -- The board of directors of the Winthrop and Fayette consolidated school district took no action Wednesday night on replacing the superintendent. The district, Alternative Organizational Structure 97,
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He's not just a good driver: He's an outstanding student - Indianapolis Star
Google News - over 5 years
"Who is Wendell Scott?" Cleveland asked. "Who is Willy T. Ribbs?" Walter aced the quiz. He knew Scott was the first black driver to win at NASCAR's highest level, then Grand National, at Jacksonville, Fla., in 1963. He knew Ribbs was the first black to
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CUP: Brickyard 400 Notebook - SPEEDtv.com
Google News - over 5 years
NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott later drove it in ARCA and NASCAR Grand National East competition. Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, the world's largest rod and custom association, will display more than 100 cars. Goodguys events showcase a variety of
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Byron raceway roars back to life in car ads - Macon Telegraph (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Some may remember the track as the venue for race scenes in “Greased Lightning,” a 1977 movie starring actor/comedian Richard Pryor about the early days of black stock car driver Wendell Scott. While the site won't be used for racing cars again,
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Newton: Embarrassing moments in NASCAR - ESPN
Google News - over 5 years
Wendell Scott took the checkered flag at Jacksonville's Speedway Park, but at a time when racial tensions ran high the trophy and Victory Lane celebration went to Buck Baker. It wasn't until two hours later, long after everyone had gone, that officials
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NASCAR on Film: Power Ranking the Top 11 Racing Movies Ever Made - Bleacher Report
Google News - over 5 years
This 1977 movie is based loosely on the real-life story of Wendell Scott, the first African American drive and win a race in NASCAR. Scott is played famed comedian Richard Pryor in the movie, which is notable since Pryor certainly wasn't known for
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Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in connection with death of uncle - Regina Leader-Post
Google News - over 5 years
Seanna Rae Nahnepowisk, 25, had been charged with the second-degree murder of her uncle, Wendell Scott Toto. But during a Thursday court appearance, she instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Crown prosecutor Mitch Miller and defence lawyer Carson
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Departing Winthrop class celebrates its 'unshakable bonds' - Kennebec Journal
Google News - over 5 years
WINTHROP -- The ceremony is the same from place to place and year to year, but time and repetition do not diminish its power to touch lives. Winthrop High School seniors Kelsey Nason, left, and Sasha Flaherty hug their
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Public works' loss is town's $1 million gain - Kennebec Journal
Google News - over 5 years
At Thursday night's Town Meeting, an unusual problem presented itself to the assembly of 87 citizens: How can the town appropriate funds for a public works department that had been shut down? Two days earlier in a narrow
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Winthrop council OKs budget increase; voters to rule on school portion - Kennebec Journal
Google News - over 5 years
WINTHROP -- The Town Council approved a cut-down school budget Monday that would require a property tax increase of 58 cents per $1000 of assessed value if validated Tuesday. Also Monday, councilors approved a $4.7
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4 vie for 2 seats - Kennebec Journal
Google News - over 5 years
READFIELD -- Two seats are up for grabs on Readfield's Select Board, but it's a ballot question -- whether to abolish the town's Public Works Department-- that is grabbing much of the candidates' attention
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Wendell Scott
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1990
    Age 68
    Scott died on December 23, 1990 in Danville, Virginia, having suffered from spinal cancer.
    More Details Hide Details The film Greased Lightning, starring Richard Pryor as Scott, was loosely based on Scott's biography.
  • 1986
    Age 64
    Mojo Nixon, a fellow Danville native, wrote a tribute song titled "The Ballad of Wendell Scott", which appears on Nixon and Skid Roper's 1986 album, Frenzy.
    More Details Hide Details Inducted as a member of the 2000 class of The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum located in Portsmouth, VA. Scott has a street named after him in his hometown of Danville. Only six other black drivers are known to have started at least one race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series: Elias Bowie, Charlie Scott, George Wiltshire, Randy Bethea, Willy T. Ribbs and, most recently, Bill Lester, who made the field for races at Atlanta and Michigan in 2006. Those drivers have made a combined nine Cup starts. As reported in the Washington Post, filmmaker John W. Warner began directing a documentary about Scott, titled The Wendell Scott Story, which was to be released in 2003 with narration by the filmmaker's father, former U.S. Senator John Warner but instead Warner created a four set DVD entitled "American Stock: The Golden Era of NASCAR: 1936-to-1971" which documents many racers including Scott. The film included interviews with fellow race-car drivers, including Richard Petty. American Stock: The Golden Era of NASCAR: 1936-to-1971 is not listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
  • FIFTIES
  • 1975
    Age 53
    Scott is prominently featured in the 1975 book The World's Number One, Flat-Out, All-Time Great Stock Car Racing Book, written by Jerry Bledsoe.
    More Details Hide Details In April 2012, Scott was nominated for inclusion in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and was selected for induction in the 2015 class, in May 2014. In January 2013, Scott was awarded his own historical marker in Danville, Virginia. The marker's statement will be “Persevering over prejudice and discrimination, Scott broke racial barriers in NASCAR, with a 13-year career that included 20 top five and 147 top ten finishes.” Wendell was Inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 30, 2015.
  • 1973
    Age 51
    Scott was forced to retire due to injuries from a racing accident at Talladega, Alabama in 1973.
    More Details Hide Details He achieved one win and 147 top ten finishes in 495 career Grand National starts.
  • FORTIES
  • 1969
    Age 47
    His top year in winnings was 1969 when he won $47,451
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1965
    Age 43
    He finished 11th in points in 1965, was a career-high 6th in 1966, 10th in 1967, and finished 9th in both 1968 and 1969.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1964
    Age 42
    In 1964, Scott finished 12th in points despite missing several races.
    More Details Hide Details Over the next five years, Scott consistently finished in the top ten in the point standings.
  • 1963
    Age 41
    In the 1963 season, he finished 15th in points, and on December 1 of that year, driving a Chevrolet Bel Air that he purchased from Ned Jarrett, he won a race on the half-mile dirt track at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida—the first (and, to date, only) Grand National event won by an African-American (Darrell Wallace Jr. recently became the second African-American driver in NASCAR's top 3 series to win with his win at Martinsville in 2013).
    More Details Hide Details Scott passed Richard Petty, who was driving an ailing car, with 25 laps remaining for the win. Scott was not announced as the winner of the race at the time, presumably due to the racist culture of the time. Buck Baker, the second-place driver, was initially declared the winner, but race officials discovered two hours later that Scott had not only won, but was two laps in front of the rest of the field. NASCAR awarded Scott the win two years later, but his family never actually received the trophy he had earned until 2010–47 years after the race, and 20 years after Scott had died. He continued to be a competitive driver despite his low-budget operation through the rest of the 1960s.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1961
    Age 39
    In 1961, he moved up to Grand National (now Sprint Cup).
    More Details Hide Details
    He debuted in the Grand National Series on March 4, 1961, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
    More Details Hide Details On December 1, 1963, he won a Grand National Series race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, becoming the first black driver to win a race at NASCAR's premier level. Scott's career was repeatedly affected by racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials. However, his determined struggle as an underdog won him thousands of white fans and many friends and admirers among his fellow racers. He was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. Scott was born in Danville, Virginia. From boyhood, he wanted to be his own boss. In Danville, two industries dominated the local economy: cotton mills and tobacco-processing plants. Scott vowed to avoid that sort of boss-dominated life. "That mill's too much like a prison," he told a friend. "You go in and they lock a gate behind you and you can't get out until you've done your time." (This quotation and those that follow are from "Hard Driving" and are posted here by the book's author.) He began learning auto mechanics from his father, who worked as a driver and mechanic for two well-to-do white families. Scott and his sister Guelda were awed by their father's daring behind the wheel. "He frightened people to death," Guelda said. "They say he'd come through town just about touching the ground. After Scott started racing, all the old people would say the same thing: 'He's just like his daddy.'" Scott raced bicycles against white boys.
  • 1959
    Age 37
    In 1959 he won two championships.
    More Details Hide Details NASCAR awarded him the championship title for drivers of sportsman-class stock cars in the state of Virginia, and he also won the track championship in the sportsman class at Richmond's Southside Speedway. Even at this early stage of his racing, Scott would tell friends privately that his goal was to win races at the top level of NASCAR. For the rest of his career he would pursue a dream whose fulfillment depended heavily upon whether France backed up that promise.
  • 1954
    Age 32
    Scott met Bill France for the first time in April 1954.
    More Details Hide Details The night before, Scott said, the promoter at a NASCAR event in Raleigh, North Carolina, had given gas money to all of the white drivers who came to the track but refused to pay Scott anything. Scott said he approached France in the pits at the Lynchburg speedway and told him what had happened. Even though France and the Raleigh promoter were friends, Scott said France immediately pulled some money out of his pocket and assured Scott that NASCAR would never treat him with prejudice. "He let me know my color didn't have anything to do with anything," Scott said. "He said, 'You're a NASCAR member, and as of now you will always be treated as a NASCAR member.' And instead of giving me fifteen dollars, he reached in his pocket and gave me thirty dollars." Scott won dozens of races during his nine years in regional-level competition. His driving talent, his skill as a mechanic and his hard work earned him the admiration of thousands of white fans and many of his fellow racers, despite the racial prejudice that was widespread during the 1950s.
  • 1953
    Age 31
    Some Southern newspapers began writing positive stories about Scott's performance. He began the 1953 season on the northern Virginia circuit, for example, by winning a feature race in Staunton.
    More Details Hide Details Then he tied the Waynesboro qualifying record. A week later he won the Waynesboro feature, after placing first in his heat race and setting a new qualifying record. The Waynesboro News Virginian reported that Scott had become "recognized as one of the most popular drivers to appear here." The Staunton News Leader said he "has been among the top drivers in every race here." Scott understood, though, that to rise in the sport, he somehow had to gain admission to the all-white ranks of NASCAR. He did not know NASCAR's celebrated founder and president, Bill France, who ran the organization like a czar. Instead, Scott found a way, essentially, to slip into NASCAR through a side door, without the knowledge or consent of anyone at NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters. He towed his racecar to a local NASCAR event at the old Richmond Speedway, a quarter-mile dirt oval, and asked the steward, Mike Poston, to grant him a NASCAR license. Poston, a part-timer, was not a powerful figure in NASCAR's hierarchy, but he did have the authority to issue licenses.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1949
    Age 27
    The police caught Scott only once, in 1949.
    More Details Hide Details Sentenced to three years probation, he continued making his late-night whiskey runs. On weekends, he would go to the stock car races in Danville, sitting in the blacks-only section of the bleachers, and he would wish that he too could be racing on the speedway. He then became the first African American NASCAR Driver to ever win a race, let alone compete in one. Scott was around thirty years old when he was sitting in the bleachers of local speedways, watching white men race. Up to then, he had lived his whole life under the rigid rules of segregation. The Danville races were run by the Dixie Circuit, one of several regional racing organizations that competed with NASCAR during that era. Danville's events always made less money than the Dixie Circuit's races at other tracks. "We were a tobacco and textile town -- people didn't have the money to spend," said Aubrey Ferrell, one of the organizers. The officials decided they would try an unusual, and unprecedented, promotional gimmick: They would recruit a Negro driver to compete against the "good ol' boys." To their credit, they wanted a fast black driver, not just a fall guy to look foolish. They asked the Danville police who the best Negro driver in town was. The police recommended the moonshine runner whom they had chased many times and caught only once. Scott brought one of his whiskey-running cars to the next race, and Southern stock car racing gained its first black driver. (Scott's debut often has been reported as taking place in the 1940s, but articles in two Danville newspapers, the Register and the Commercial Appeal, confirm the date as May 23, 1952.) Some spectators booed him, and his car broke down during the race.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1921
    Born
    Born on August 29, 1921.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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