Wendell Scott: The Odyssey of NASCAR's First Black Driver

Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver in NASCAR, and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National S
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Photo: NASCAR

August 29th, 2021 will mark the centennial of the birth of Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver in NASCAR, and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series, NASCAR highest level--which is documented in the upcoming revised book "HARD DRIVING: The Wendell Scott Story" (T2P Books) which will be on sale on August 3, 2021.

HARD DRIVING was the first and remains the only full biography of Scott.

While researching and writing the book Brian Donovan had exclusive access to Wendell Scott whose life was cut short by spinal cancer in 1990. This new edition is enhanced by a foreword by renowned sports journalist Joe Posnanski who was awestruck by what Donovan’s book taught him.

Wendell Scott’s car racing career began in the segregated 1950s and was repeatedly affected by racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials including founder Bill France Sr., who promised that NASCAR would treat him without prejudice but reneged on his pledge. Some spectators would shout racial slurs. Some prejudiced drivers would wreck him deliberately.

However, over time many drivers came to respect Scott. They saw his skills as a mechanic and driver, and they liked his quiet, uncomplaining manner. They looked at him as someone similar to themselves, another hard-working blue-collar guy swept up in the adrenaline rush of racing.

Refusing to give up through crashes, health problems, and money troubles, Scott never wavered from his belief that he would become a legend in NASCAR. For his efforts Scott was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. Now, a century after his birth, and decades after his death it is time for Wendell Scott’s story to reach a mainstream audience.

HARD DRIVING documents a previously untold chapter in the history of integration, politics, and sports in America. Populated with personalities such as drivers Ned Jarrett and Richard Petty, segregationist politician George Wallace, and auto executive Lee Iaccoca it is the legacy Scott deserves.

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