His career on wheels began as a taxi driver before he became the first African American to compete full time in NASCAR's premier series.
- Inducted: 2015
- Position:Driver / Owner / Mechanic
A Drive and Determination to Change History
Scott wasn't the first African-American to compete in NASCAR's premier division, but he was the first to be a full-time competitor.
He served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II where he honed his mechanical skills in the motor pool. Scott started racing in 1947 and experienced immediate success behind the wheel. He won over 100 races in the next decade at local area tracks.
Scott made his first start in NASCAR’s premier series on March 4, 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C. He made 23 starts that season, posting five top-five finishes. On Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African American to win a NASCAR premier series event. Scott won the 100-mile feature race after starting 15th.
Over the next 13 years, Scott would make 495 starts, which ranks 32nd on the all-time list. In his distinguished career, Scott accumulated 20 top-five finishes including eight of them in the same season he won his first career race, 1964. Scott also posted 147 top-10 finishes, more than 25 percent of the races he entered.
Leading the pack in the No. 11 at a Virginia dirt track. Scott won the Virginia State NASCAR Sportsman Division championship in 1959. Courtesy of ISC Archives via Getty Images.
Scott worked on his own cars, maximizing his equipment and his winnings so he could make it to the next race. Courtesy of ISC Archives via Getty Images.
Wendell Scott in 1963, the year he became the first African American driver to win in NASCAR's premier series. Courtesy of ISC Archives via Getty Images.