by JamesJ, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
Sundays of my youth consisted of NASCAR racing and cold bottles of Mountain Dew. Thirty years later not much has changed for me. However, nearly everything has changed in NASCAR.January 11, 2010 10:34 am UTC No Comments
Over the next several weeks we’ll be featuring car numbers in NASCAR history. We started with #50 and are working our way down the line. With each car number we’ll take a brief look at a couple stats related to the featured car number, but we’ll primarily spotlight either a driver, sponsor, car owner, manufacturer or other significant subject closely tied to the car number of the day.
We’re seven days away from Martin Luther King Day. It was 1963 when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and in 1964 King was honored as the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination. During this same time one man was facing significant discrimination in a “white man’s sport.” The discrimination didn’t only come from some of the competitors, but it also came from NASCAR itself. However, the blatant discrimination didn’t stop him from winning, only from initially being recognized as the winner.
Stats for all cars running the #34:
- Number of Races: 679
- Number of Wins: 2
- Number of Top 5s: 27
- Number of Top 10s: 173
- Number of Poles: 2
Check out current NASCAR race statistics here at On Pit Row!
Spotlight Subject: Driver/Owner Wendell Scott
In 1963 Wendell Scott was enduring discrimination in NASCAR. But he would make an impact and would force NASCAR to list him among the ranks of winners in the sport. It was December of 1963 in Jacksonville, Florida when Wendell led a total of 27 laps in a 200 lap event. He was the first to complete the 200 laps, but NASCAR wouldn’t wave the checkered flag for another two laps when Buck Baker crossed the finish line. Wendell knew he had won the race and he kept on making laps, which explains why he is now credited with 202 laps in a 200 lap race, and the 2nd place driver is credited with 200 laps.
Wendell’s son, Franklin Scott, recounted the story (which can be found on LegendsOfNASCAR.com. “Dad had won the race and he knew it. They just wouldn’t drop the checkered flag. They gave it to Buck Baker and kept Daddy there all that time. Then they came out and said, ‘Wendell, you did win.’ “My dad went off then. He said, “Give me my damn money.” Buck got the real trophy. The thing we got was junk. They gave us a trophy about a month later at Savannah. But it wasn’t the real thing.”
The “trophy” that NASCAR gave Wendall Scott speaks volumes about their attitude at the time. While I haven’t seen photos of this item, the reports are that there is no brass nameplate, no engraving with the date, location, nor finish position. Not even Wendell’s name. There’s nothing flashy or prestigious about it, rather it’s actually just some off-color wood with no varnish or other finishing touches. And, as Franklin Scott claimed, it wasn’t even presented to Wendell until some 28 days later.
Roland at LegendsOfNASCAR.com has collected many, many great articles and images of Wendell Scott [a couple images in this spotlight are from Roland's site!]. Thankfully part of that collection includes accounts of drivers supporting Wendell in his struggles. Struggles not only on the track in the competitive nature of the sport itself, but also with the struggles he dealt with from racist competitors. Driver’s such as Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Tiny Lund, Joe Weatherly and Fireball Roberts are all examples of some of the sports biggest icons supporting Wendell’s participation in NASCAR despite the blatant prejudices often shown towards Wendell. Ned Jarrett once arranged for Wendell to purchase a used race car for $1.00 so that he could keep on racing. Tiny Lund once gave Wendell tires to qualify on. Joe Weatherly once apologized for the actions of other competitors.
As you might imagine, it wasn’t uncommon for Wendell to be verbally abused before and/or after a race. Also, he often was purposefully wrecked during a race. Joe Weatherly visited Wendell after one such race and said, “Wendell, I just came to apologize for the rest of those stupid sons of bitches.”
It sure was a different time then. Just as Martin Luther King was making great strides in breaking down segregation and discrimination in society, so too was Wendell Scott through his determination to make it in the deep south in a “white man’s sport” called NASCAR. Wendell was a brave and determined man who stood tall against competitors, the NASCAR organization, and even the Ku Klux Klan’s threat not to go racing in Atlanta. I for one think the story is a great one, and it makes me not only admire Wendell, but also some of those competitors that supported him. Through it all Wendell managed a racing career of 13 years, 495 races in which he had 1 pole, 147 top tens, 20 top fives, and one very important win.
I encourage you to read more about Wendell Scott at Legends Of NASCAR.