August 28th is the birthday of Wendell Scott, the only black driver in NASCAR during his career, which spanned the 1960s and early 1970s. He was forced to retire in 1973 after getting injured in what’s traditionally known as “the Big One” in Talladega, Alabama that same year. Scott won the NASCAR Grand National (now known as the Sprint Cup) series in Jacksonville, Florida on December 1, 1963. He is the only black driver to win that to date. (No typical Victory Lane trophy queen finish for him however, with photographers and girls and such.) He had 147 top ten finishes in 495 Grand National career starts. Born in 1921 in Danville, Virginia, Scott (a master mechanic, like most NASCAR drivers in those years) started racing in 1947, after first driving a cab, and then hauling moonshine liquor, which is pretty much the genesis of stock car racing. He died December 23, 1990. Richard Pryor played Scott in a film about the driver and his career, titled Greased Lightning in 1977, co-starring Pam Grier, Beau Bridges, Cleavon Little and Richie Havens.
I can’t believe I gotta sit down here in this day and age, and write about something that has a contingent Jim Crow smell to me. I mean it’s 2010, and I gotta ask why this man has yet to receive a nomination in the NASCAR Hall of Fame?? Come on!—give me a break! I mean, I’m looking at the nominees here for the 2011 class. All these guys should be there of course. Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly and the others, should be there. I was looking at the nominees in 2010 for that class, and I was like, OK, let me see if next year’s gonna be the year. But realistically, can you REALLY overlook somebody with the historic value and credentials Scott has? Can a person really be that shortsighted? Look, I have all of Scott’s Grand National / Winston Cup stats on my computer. After all, NASCAR (along with other motor sports) happens to be something I like. It’s not my religion, but I like motor sports racing, very much. I just think this silent noncommittal position by the sport on this matter is just plain dumb now. Give the man a damn nomination! (Interestingly enough, Scott and his family have reportedly named Weatherly, Roberts, Jarrett, along with Tiny Lund, Richard Petty, and good friend Earl Brooks, as guys who tried to look out for Scott while all the racist shenanigans were going on during his career.)
Muslims. We’re dealing with Muslims now, and Islam, right? We tend to innovate and advance our discriminatory practices. But it seems like these guys are still having problems with black folks advancing or holding their own in a motor sport.
Stupid. Just, stupid.