Before Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR will celebrate the legacy of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott and present the Scott family with a trophy commemorating the driver’s historic victory on Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
A native of Danville, Virginia, Scott was the first Black driver to compete full time in the NASCAR Cup Series and his victory in the Jacksonville 200 marked the first race won by a Black driver at the sport’s top level.
On that day in Florida, however, Scott didn’t get to celebrate his win and didn’t receive a trophy as part of the standard post-race presentation. At the end of the race, Buck Baker was flagged the winner and it wasn’t until the official scoring review that race officials determined Scott had won the event by two laps – with Baker finishing second.
On Saturday, nearly 58 years after Scott’s landmark victory, NASCAR is recognizing the achievement with the pageantry it deserves before thousands of race fans at Daytona International Speedway. And less than 100 miles from the site of the old Speedway Park in Jacksonville, NASCAR will present the Scott family a trophy.
“It’s quite an honor and a privilege to be here this weekend for this historic moment in time,” said Frank Scott, Wendell’s son. “I grew up at Daytona as a young teenager and a child and came here throughout my father’s racing career. It’s good to be back in this historic place.”
Frank and his three siblings will be joined at the track by a dozen family members including grandchildren and great grandchildren. On hand for the presentation will be Steve Phelps, NASCAR President, and Brandon Thompson, NASCAR Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion.
“NASCAR is honored and delighted to have the family of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott with us here in Daytona in the presence of the industry and the fans as we celebrate and honor the legacy of Wendell Scott and everything he brought to the sport,” Thompson said.
“That historic moment (in 1963) wasn’t celebrated In the way that it should have been,” he added. “It is certainly one of the most iconic and monumental moments in American stock car racing history, but dare I say motorsports history.”
During a media availability on Friday, Warrick Scott, Frank’s son and Wendell’s grandson, addressed his grandfather’s contributions to NASCAR and what Saturday’s presentation means to his family.
“Wendell Scott’s legacy as a man is rooted in community and outreach,” Warrick Scott said. “The work that we’ve been doing for so many years, this moment crystallizes it. All things are possible. At this moment in time I think diversity is a really big topic, and Wendell Scott built a bridge for diversity, in the minds and ideologies for many people. We are blessed to be here in this moment.”
During his NASCAR career, Wendell Scott competed in 495 Cup Series races and scored 147 top-10 finishes. He died in 1990 and was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the Class of 2015.
On Dec. 1, 1963, Scott won the third race of the 1964 season, a 100-mile feature on the half-mile Speedway Park. He started 15th and led 27 laps, finishing first in a field that included future Hall of Famers Baker (second), Richard Petty (fifth), Ned Jarrett (seventh), Joe Weatherly (14th) and David Pearson (16th).
While he achieved notable on-track success, much of Scott’s legacy in NASCAR is the multicultural drivers and crew members who came after him – many of whom found their path as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program. As a rookie in 2018, Drive for Diversity graduate Bubba Wallace became the first Black driver since Scott to compete full time in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“We can talk about the legacy of Wendell Scott and everything he’s done for the sport, but at this point in time his legacy is felt more than anything else,” said Thompson. “To look around our sport and a community that’s becoming more diverse and inclusive, we can see and feel his impact every day.”
“I think any grandparent would want to see fruitful things take place in the lives of their grandchildren,” Warrick Scott added. “ … It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to build out this understanding with NASCAR.
“Needless to say we are extremely pleased.”