Wendell Oliver Scott (August 28, 1921 - December 23, 1990) was an American stock car racing driver from Danville, Virginia. During most of his career he was the only African-American driver in NASCAR.


He initially worked as a taxi driver, and learned to be a mechanic in the Army during WW II. After returning home he worked as a mechanic, and in the evenings sometimes delivered moonshine.

Early racing careerEdit

Scott began racing in 1947 on local track in hobby, amateur and sportsman classes. He met with gradually increasing success. In 1959 he won 22 races, the Richmond track championship, and the Virginia state sportsman title.

NASCAR careerEdit

In 1961 he moved up to the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) division. In the 1963 season, he finished 15th in points, and on December 1, 1963 he won a race at Jacksonville, Florida on the one mile dirt track at Speedway Park -- the first and to date only top level NASCAR event won by an African-American. He continued to be a competitive driver despite his low-budget operation through the rest of the 1960s. In 1964, Scott finished 12th in points despite missing several races. Over the next five years, Scott consistently finished in the Top Ten in the point standings. He finished 11th in points in 1965, was a career-high 6th in 1966, 10th in 1967, and finished 9th in both 1968 and '69. His top year in winnings was 1969 when he won $47,451. [1]

He was forced to retire due to injuries from a racing accident at Talladega, Alabama in 1973. He achieved one win and 147 top ten finishes in 495 career Grand National starts.


The film "Greased Lightning" starring Richard Pryor was loosely based on Wendell Scott's biography.

Mojo Nixon, a fellow Danville Virginia native, wrote a tribute song titled "The Ballad of Wendell Scott", which appears on Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper's 1987 album, "Frenzy".


External linksEdit

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