Wendell Scott was the first black driver to win a NASCAR Grand National race; Due to controversy on the finish, he never received the trophy; NASCAR is fixing that
On Dec. 1, 1963 Wendell Scott drove to victory lane in Jacksoville, Florida. The 200 lap race at Speedway Park was the first NASCAR race won by a Black driver.
Buck Baker, a two time NASCAR champion was actually declared the winner. However, the race went an extra two laps.
The race was over. Baker went to victory lane, posed with the victory lane girls and took the trophy home to North Carolina.
Scott was sure that he was the actual winner. He requested a scoring review. In the days of paper and pencil scoring, reviews weren’t uncommon.
Initially, Scott was scored 3rd. The race was confusing for scorers as teams were in an out of the pit lane due to rough track conditions.
“Everybody was in and out of the pits for repairs and nobody knew who was leading,” racer Willie Carter told the Florida Times-Union in a 2010. “The owners didn’t know who was running where. I was there when they were discussing it after the race. It was an honest mistake and they didn’t know who won.”
The review was completed two hours after the checkered flag, long after all the fans had left the complex. Upon review, officials declared Scott the winner of the race.
Lost Wendell Scott trophy
Scott was handed the winner’s check of $1,000. However, the trophy was long gone. Nobody could find the winner’s trophy that was given to Baker in victory lane.
Four weeks after the win, NASCAR presented Scott with a wooden trophy.
“One of the greatest atrocities in sports history is the fact that Wendell Scott never received his trophy from 57 years ago in Jacksonville,” his grandson, Warrick, stated via a NASCAR video on his grandfather. “Now is the time to show that NASCAR is a sport for all people, not just some.”
“The trophy was given to the person they announced as the winner in front of my grandfather,” Warrick stated in an interview with a Roanoke, Va., television station. “Hours later, when all the fans and the Associated Press had left, that was when the money was given to my grandfather. But there was no trophy.”
In 2010, the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame presented the family members a replica of the 1963 winner’s trophy.
57 years after that incident, Bubba Wallace noted that he would speak to the NASCAR president about the situation.
“Obviously, that brings up a time when the sport was not in a good place,” Wallace said of the lost trophy. “It was when things like that were normal. Righting that wrong would be a true victory and success in the sport. I’ll mention that with Steve Phelps and ask how they’re going to handle that. It’s kind of a sticky situation, but it needs to be done.”
“We have had several quality conversations on this topic with the Scott family in the past few weeks,” Phelps said in 2020. “We plan to have more discussions.”
The Scott family has remained persistent in their chase for the lost trophy. And, it appears that have a solution.
A few weeks ago, the Wendell Scott Foundation announced they will be presented with a trophy. It will be presented on this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
The family stated, “Our time has come! The Scott family attended a private event hosted by Nascar where they announced they will present the family with a trophy for Wendell’s Grand National win from 1963! To say we’re excited would be an understatement.”
“The trophy will be awarded to the family at the Coca Cola Zero 400 race at Daytona Speedway, August 28. We can’t wait to share photos and highlights with you!”
Wendell Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.