The late Wendell Scott will receive the long-awaited recognition of his 1963 NASCAR Cup Series win during pre-race activities Saturday night at Daytona.
NASCAR will present the Scott family with a trophy to acknowledge the Hall of Famer’s win at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. The victory was historic as Scott was the first Black driver to win at NASCAR’s top level.
The presentation comes a day before what would have been Scott’s 100th birthday.
“That historic moment wasn’t celebrated in the way it should have been,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR vice president of diversity and inclusion. “It is certainly one of the most iconic and monumental moments in American stock car racing history, but dare I say, even motorsport’s history as he became the first Black driver to win and the only Black driver to win a Cup Series race.”
The trophy the Scott family will receive was designed by Jostens for this occasion.
Scott did not get to celebrate his win on December 1, 1963, the way a driver should. Buck Baker was initially declared the winner of the Jacksonville 200, and he was the one who went to victory lane and received the trophy. Hours later, after a review of the race and the scoring, it was determined Scott was the winner.
While Scott was recognized in the history books at the winner and received the winner’s check, he never got the trophy.
NASCAR is hosting Wendell Scott’s son Frank and grandson Warrick at Daytona for the presentation. With the victory haven taken place north of Daytona in Jacksonville, and a day before his birthday, it was agreed that Daytona was a fitting place for it to happen.
“It matters because my father earned it, and it was something that he didn’t belabor on; it didn’t kill his enthusiasm for racing or helping people throughout this life, but he always wanted to get his trophy, and he predicted he would get his trophy one day,” Frank Scott said. “He said that ‘I may not be here with y’all,’ but he said ‘One day I’ll get my trophy.’
“It’s important because I see the growth in NASCAR, I see the growth in diversity that didn’t use to exist, and I think that’s something that this will lay a really solid foundation to build on – not saying they don’t have a foundation now – but of course this is the one thing that (everyone) got right. … It’s been a while, but we’re enthusiastic about it. We’re not getting stuck in the past.”
Scott made 495 starts at NASCAR’s top level from 1961 to ’73. Jacksonville was his only win.
The Scott family is working on a museum in their hometown of Danville, Virginia. They plan to house the trophy there with other artifacts from Wendell Scott’s career. Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.