YouGabSports Blogs
Wendell Scott : A NASCAR Pioneering Spirit
Category: Racing
Tags: Wendell Scott NASCAR Fontana

 

Welcome Gabbers and others. Thought I'd bring a story of pioneering never say never spirit in todays written offering. It's a story of a man who against all odds and adversity made a name for himself as a respectful talented racer, gained the respect of other racers and just never quit. Wendell Scott was a Black American who decided that racing would become his life. 

He was a taxi driver from 1939-1943. Served as a mechanic and paratrooper during WW II in the US Army from 1943-1945. Had his own garage called Scott's Garage from 1949-1990. Drove in NASCAR from 1961-1973.

Of course he was a bootlegger as most of the NASCAR drivers were back then. He bragged that his liquor car could go 95 mph in 2nd gear and 118 mph in high. No police car in Danville, Va could go that fast so as a result, Wendell was only caught once in 1949 and given 3 years probation. He still made his late night whiskey runs.

Wendell traveled from race to race with his wife Mary and their kids. They had 6 in all and Wendell Jr and Franklin ended up as his pit crew when they were old enough. Travel as a black family was rough. They brought their own food and carried extra cans of fuel just in case they couldn't make it to a gas station or restaurant that would serve them. Some tracks refused to let him race. People booed him from the stands. Drivers out right wrecked him or slashed his tires. The track scorers would not score him and would place him last on the score board. Of course he'd get last place pay too. 

Wendell's son Franklin told of a story of Wendell smashing the qualifying record of Jack Smith at a Savannah, GA track. He let Wendell know he was going to drive right through him. Seems he never got close enough all race. Wendell came in 2nd behind Ned Jarret. The animosity continued with Jack wrecking him else where and Wendell just had enough. During the pace lap at another race Jack drove up beside Wendell and pointed at him. Wendell pulled out a gun and pointed it at Jack. There were no more issues with Jack Smith after that.

Of course there were those that were happy to help Wendell. He was on a limited budget and very few resource. Richard Petty, Tiny Lund, Ned Jarret, Fireball Roberts and Joe Weatherly were just a few drivers who helped out when they could. On one such occasion Tiny Lund gave Wendell a set of tires to qualify on. Another time Ned Jarret sold Wendell a Holman Moody Ford for a $1. Wendell finished 12 in the points that year even though he missed several races. 

On December 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jasksonville, Fla Wendell Scott became the first Black American to win in NASCAR. As usual though the scorers were ignoring Wendell and they waved the checkered flag over top of Buck Baker the 2nd place car. The track officials were afraid of a riot if they let Wendell in victory lane and he kissed the trophy girl. Wendell complained and got the prize money but the trophy came a couple races later and it wasn't the right trophy. 

Through all the adversity Wendell never showed bitterness or acted out in spite. He always took the high road, kept his nose to the grind stone and showed his children how a great man acts. He knew fighting would not serve any purpose in helping him to do what he loved and that was to race.

His career in racing came to an end in 1973 at Talladega, Ala in a 19 car pile up which almost left him a cripple. He sustained multiple injuries. A broken pelvis, 3 broken ribs, a broken leg and a laceration on his arm that required 70 stitches.

In 1971 Wendell received the first Curtis Turner Achievement Award for his efforts to promote NASCAR. He has received many other awards for his community work as well as a street in Danville named after him. In 1999 he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall Of Fame. Unfortunately Wendell had passed away in 1990 of spinal cancer.

Who knows what he could've accomplished with the money and resources of the better funded teams. He certainly had the talent and most of the drivers admitted that much. He was a genius under the hood of the car making the most out of what he had. He made parts or tools if he had no money to buy them. 

He was truly a NASCAR pioneering spirit in the highest order.

FONTANA CALIFORNIA

I didn't think it rained in California but it did on Sunday. The Auto Club 400 was about 70 laps short due to rain. From the time the green flag dropped all the drivers seemed to be on a mission. Very focused on no caution flags and there weren't any until lap 123 for rain drops in turn 3. By lap 129 it was a red flag and all cars went to pit road to cover up and wait. At 5:25 EST they called the race and my most handsome Knight of the Mobile1 Tony Stewart was awarded the race. 

Normally our veteran drivers have better days in the pits but there were mistakes a plenty. Jeff Gordon dragged his gasman on lap 108 out of the pit box resulting in a stop and go penalty. Green flag stop and he went one lap down. OUCH!!!

Lap 36 Regan Smith too fast exiting pit road. Pass thru penalty.

On lap 68, Jamie McMurray didn't get all his lug nuts on and had to come back in. Came back in again several laps later complaining the wheel was loose.

Lap 70 Bobby Labonte almost as old as Mark Martin was too fast exiting pit road. Pass thru penalty. At the half way lap 100 Brad Keselowski was too fast exiting pit road. Pass thru penalty.

Lap 105 JJ Yeley too fast entering pit road. Pass thru penalty. 

Kyle Busch got the most laps led bonus with 80 laps. Brother Kurt got a top 10. YEAH!!! 

Smoke started pouring from Johnsons car on lap 128. Thought it might be an oil line knocked loose from debris bouncing off or a blown motor. In either case the red flag on lap 129 and rain out race ending saved his 10th place finish.

Hamlin for some unknown reason elected to go in for a pit stop on during the rain caution on lap 123 and gave up 2nd place. 

First thru 12th on the track at the end of the race were... Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Mark Martin.

TOP 12 IN THE POINTS - Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards

THE DANICA UPDATE

On Saturdays race debris punctured her radiator and her race day ended with engine failure. She only drove 63 laps and ended up 35th for the day and many laps down. She's 17th in the points standings. 

48 PENALTY UPDATE

The chief appellate officer John Middlebrook gave Jimmie his 25 pts back, and took away the race suspensions of Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec. The $100,000 fine stands. Rick Hendrick maintained his team was innocent. He keeps highly detailed records of all his cars and presented all this to John Middlebrook who sided with Hendrick in the end. John is not talking about why he over turned the decision and NASCAR isn't talking either. We are left to wonder why the other cars were allowed to fix their C-post before inspection without a fine and the 48 team wasn't.

Next week it's Martinsville. Lots of tempers flying and lots of beatin' & bangin'. Can't wait. I've moved up 2 spots in my Yahoo fantasy league. Not sure where I am in my work fantasy league but I'm hoping for the best. 

Thanks for stopping by and you all have a great day........

 

 

RSS
Blog Categories

This website is powered by Spruz