This quick, animated history of Wendell Scott is pretty great. He was the first black driver to race and win at NASCAR’s highest level. And he did it the early 1960s facing incredible racism—this was the age of Freedom Summer, Birmingham and Selma.
The hatred even led to denying Wendell Scott his only win. Here’s the story:
They didn’t acknowledge the win until two years later. NASCAR awarded his family the trophy in 2010, 47 years after the race and 20 years after Scott’s death.
NASCAR is just now acknowledging this mark in its history. In 2013, Darrell Wallace Jr. became the first black driver in 50 years to win in a NASCAR national series race with his first career win at Martinsville. In 2014, Wallace repeated at Martinsville driving a truck with a special paint scheme honoring Wendell Scott. In 2015, NASCAR inducted Scott into its Hall of Fame.
There’s a great children’s book, Racing Against the Odds: The Story of Wendell Scott, Stock Car Racing’s African American Champion, that gives a good overview of his grit and determination.