Sports

African-American NASCAR Driver Raced Like ‘A Great Artist’

Wendell Scott, second from the right, pictured in this 1970 photo of the Black American Racers Association. (Ethan Casey/Creative Commons license).
Wendell Scott, second from the right, pictured in this 1970 photo of the Black American Racers Association. (Ethan Casey/Creative Commons license).

 

(NPR.com)—The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts an African-American driver for the first time Friday night.

Wendell Scott drove during the Jim Crow era, and he was the first African-American to win a race at NASCAR’s elite major league level. He died in 1990.

Scott’s career began in 1952, and his racing team was his family. They would travel to races together from their home in Virginia, and his sons served as his pit crew.

“It was like Picasso, like a great artist doing his work,” says Scott’s son, Frank, 67, at StoryCorps. “And he was in that car, he was doing his work. And as children we didn’t have that leisure time, you know, we couldn’t go to the playground. He said to us, ‘I need you at the garage.’ I can remember him getting injured, and he’d just take axle grease and put it in the cut and keep working.”

 

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