Wendell Scott | Class of 2015

Inductee for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class

Wendell Scott wasn’t the first African-American to compete in NASCAR’s premier division. But the Danville, Virginia native was the first of his race to compete full time in the series, and the first to win at NASCAR’s highest level.

Scott began racing in 1947 after three years of service in the U.S. Army motor pool and experienced immediate success behind the wheel. He won over 100 races in the next decade at local area tracks and claimed the 1959 NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championship.

(b. 8/29/1921 — d. 12/23/1990)

Hometown: Danville, Virginia

Competed: 1961-73

Starts: 495

Wins: 1

Poles: 1

Scott made his first start in NASCAR’s premier series March 4, 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He made 23 starts that season, posting five top-five finishes.

On Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, Scott became the first African-American to win a NASCAR premier series event. Scott won the third race of the 1964 season, a 100-mile feature, after starting 15th.

Over 13 years, Scott would make 495 starts, which ranks 37th on the all-time list. In his 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.

Scott’s legacy extends to present day with NASCAR awarding annual scholarships in his honor. In addition, the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award is given to a diverse or female driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series who has demonstrated significant contributions on and off the track.