Wendell Scott

NASCAR’s Long History with Racism

Meet Wendell Scott, the first Black driver to race in NASCAR and to win a race in the Grand National Series. Initally, NASCAR refused to let him compete, and in races on the “Dixie Circuit,” other drivers intentionally tried to force him to crash by purposely ramming his car. Eventually, he found someone to issue him a NASCAR license, and he was able to race.

In 1961, he moved up to the Grand National division (now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series). In December 1963, he won a race on the half-mile dirt track at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida — the first Grand National event won by an African-American. Scott was not announced as the winner of the race at the time, presumably due to racism. 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.

NASCAR races have long been filled with Confederate flag waving racists, and only recently asked that flags not be carried in to races, though many cars can be seen arriving with the flag attached. We are NOT shocked that these racist owners threatened to fire any drivers and crew memberswho kneeled during the anthem.

I am including the link for you to watch the movie Greased Lightning, a film about Wendell Scott, starring Richard Pryor and Pam Grier.