NASCAR, Front Row Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway announced today they will honor 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR premier series event, with a series of tributes during the Martinsville race weekend from Oct. 24-26.
Front Row Motorsports will pay homage to Scott, also the first African-American driver to race full-time in NASCAR’s premier series, with a full throwback paint scheme on its No. 34 Ford driven by David Ragan, reminiscent of the blue No. 34 that he drove to Victory Lane for his first NASCAR premier series victory at Jacksonville Speedway on Dec. 1, 1963. Ragan is one of just three drivers to win in the No. 34, and the first since Scott.
“It’s going to be cool to honor Wendell Scott at his home track with his family,” said Ragan. “I got to drive a tribute scheme for Ned Jarrett a while back, and it’s a tribute to the history of our sport that I get to honor Mr. Scott as an inductee, the last driver to win in the No. 34 before I did. I’m a fan of our sport’s history and have a real appreciation for it, so it’s special to be able to bring that paint scheme back for a weekend.”
In addition, Kyle Busch Motorsports will change the number of Darrell Wallace Jr.’s truck from 54 to 34 in honor of Scott. A NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race since Scott’s historic 1963 triumph when he captured the checkered flag in last season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville.
"It's an honor to run the No. 34 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville,” said Wallace. “I got my first win at Martinsville and the historical significance of that win and to be so close to Wendell Scott's hometown was a really cool bonus to getting my first win. The Scott family has followed my career since I ran the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for Rev Racing and I've kept a relationship with the family over the years. Thanks to Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota and NASCAR for allowing me to run the No. 34 at Martinsville. I'm pumped to get back there and hope to get another victory."
Adding to the celebration, Martinsville Speedway and the NHOF will host members of the Scott family during the race weekend and offer special Q&A opportunities for fans on-site.
“Wendell Scott faced numerous adversities throughout his racing career. At the end of the day though, he persevered and overcame all odds,” said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway. “That perseverance serves as an inspiration today and as a testament to that, he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
A trailblazer whose legacy extends to the present day, Scott was the 1959 NASCAR Virginia Sportsman champion and won over 100 races at local tracks prior to starting his NASCAR premier series career. The Danville, Virginia native served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II where he honed his skills in the motor pool. In 13 years of NASCAR premier series competition, Scott made 495 starts (35th on the all-time list), accumulating 20 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes. He passed away in 1990, at the age of 69.
NASCAR currently awards scholarships in Scott’s name through the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. The Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award is awarded to a diverse or female driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series who has demonstrated significant contributions on and off the track. Current NASCAR D4D driver and last year’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Nevada state champion Jay Beasley was the 2013 award recipient.
In addition, NASCAR has designated the first race weekend in March as a time to remember Wendell Scott’s legacy during a week that marks his first career start. Cars in all series run a decal in honor of his accomplishments within the sport.