African American Race Car Driver Wendell Scott Posthumously Honored by NASCAR

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Wendell ScottThis week, NASCAR posthumously honored the late Wendell Scott by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Scott was the first African American driver in the history of NASCAR to win a race in what would become its Sprint Cup Series (NASCAR’s top level of achievement).

At the induction ceremony last weekend, Scott’s son, Franklin Scott, said, “I would like to thank NASCAR for making this night possible, and their effort to improve diversity in NASCAR racing. Wendell Scott fulfilled his destiny, and now we can proudly say that he is the first African-American inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We must carry his legacy to even greater heights.”

Born in 1921, Scott began racing in 1952. And given the race relations of the times, Scott’s ambition was, of course, met with contempt from the industry. According to a piece published on NPR.org, other drivers had major sponsorships to underwrite the costs of the sport. Scott had to eventually stop racing due to a lack of funds. He was also not allowed to race in certain cities and, occasionally, received death threats. His tires were often slashed before a race and once, according to his son, he had to accept third place instead of first place.   

Scott died in 1990.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier.