On this day in 1963, Wendell Scott won a NASCAR race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately, the only African-American driver to win a NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) race was not crowned the winner because of the sport’s racist culture at the time.
After honing his racing skills making moonshine runs in the late 1940s, Scott began racing professionally in the 1950s. He competed on the lower level NASCAR circuits at venues that would allow him to race. He performed so well that he was able to move up to the Grand National level in 1961.
In the 1963 season, Scott finished 15th in points and in Jacksonville, crossed the finish line for a win. However, the flagman did not wave the checkered flag when Scott crossed the finish line. Even though he lost by two laps, Buck Baker was awarded with the victory. Track promoters did not want Scott kissing the beauty queen so Baker did the victory celebration, and hours later Scott was officially listed as the victor.
Scott died of spinal cancer in 1990. A special ceremony was held in 2010 in which his family was presented the trophy for his win in 1963.