NASCAR, ESPN and Max Siegel Inc., announced today that “Wendell Scott: A Race Story” will air on ESPN in conjunction with Black History Month. The much anticipated film will tell the story of Wendell Scott, the only African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s top series.
The film airs on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 20, at 9 p.m. ET, just hours after the scheduled running of the 53rd annual Daytona 500.
The docudrama, which was produced by Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Media Group in conjunction with ESPN Films and Max Siegel Inc., will air 50 years after Scott’s first race in NASCAR’s premier series. Scott, one of the sport’s most iconic pioneers who is often referred to as the Jackie Robinson of motorsports, paved the way for minorities and women. Scott’s lasting legacy is credited with helping create the Drive for Diversity program.
Drive for Diversity is a NASCAR-led initiative aimed at developing and introducing minority and female drivers and crew members to competitive opportunities in the sport.
“Wendell Scott’s legacy will live on forever as the man who broke NASCAR’s color barrier and whose courage and bravery paved the way for minorities to pursue careers in the world of motorsports,” said Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group. “This film will help preserve that legacy by telling the story of his historic ride and the positive impact his contributions are still having on the sport today.”
A recurring thread of the film will be Scott’s lone NASCAR win at Jacksonville Speedway in 1963. Focused on the challenging path Scott was forced to take to pursue his dream of racing, A Race Story combines rare historical footage with dramatic recreations and emotional interviews from members of Scott’s family, racing legends of the past and other key stakeholders in the sport that have been impacted by Scott’s inspirational story.
“Wendell Scott faced overwhelming challenges throughout his life and as a pioneer in his sport,” said John Dahl, executive producer, ESPN Films. “The film captures his strong sense of determination and honor with a poignant look at his struggles as well as an examination of his legacy.”
Before Scott raced he drove a taxi in his hometown of Danville, Va. and even ran moonshine to supplement his income. As part of a marketing gimmick, a local track promoter picked Scott to race against a field of white drivers based on a recommendation from the Danville Police who said Scott was one of the hardest guys to catch.
Through perseverance and determination in the face of discrimination, Scott earned the respect of those fellow drivers as well as NASCAR founder Bill France, who assured Scott he would be treated fairly by the sanctioning body and its competitors.
In 1961, Scott made his debut in the top tier of NASCAR racing and less than three years later, became the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s elite division.
“Wendell Scott’s determination coupled with his bravery is what created that lasting legacy in American motorsports,” said Siegel, executive producer of the film and founder of Revolution Racing. “‘A Race Story’ honors that challenging ride and helps preserve his legacy as the pioneer who allowed minorities today to fully pursue their racing dreams.”
Revolution Racing exists to provide competitive race cars to further develop the skills and capabilities of all drivers seeking opportunities in one of the world’s most competitive sports.
“Wendell Scott opened doors for me and so many others just like me,” said Darrell Wallace Jr., Drive for Diversity and Revolution Racing driver. “He’s been a hero of mine for a long time and I’m thrilled he’s being honored and remembered in such a significant manner.”