NASCAR reality

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Feb 22 02:15:05 MST 2001

Many USA newspapers featured the death of NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt, who
crashed at the Daytona on Monday, on the front page, including the "grey
lady" NY Times. Nowhere have I seen any mention of the ugly reality behind
the NASCAR circuit:

The Boston Globe, August 11, 1999

2 lose NASCAR jobs after racial prank

Two NASCAR Winston Cup team members were put on indefinite suspension by
the sanctioning body and subsequently fired from their jobs as motorcoach
drivers for Derrike Cope and Terry Labonte because of a racially
insensitive prank they played on a black crew member of Jeremy Mayfield's

The incident took place July 8 as Winston Cup teams arrived at New
Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., for the July 11 Jiffy
Lube 300.

According to Chip Williams, a spokesman for the Penske-Kranefuss Racing
team, David Scott, a motorcoach driver for Mayfield's team, answered a
knock at the vehicle's door and was greeted by the two motorcoach drivers,
one of whom wore a pillowcase over his head in an apparent impersonation of
a Ku Klux Klansman.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 28, 1997


Gerald Martin; Raleigh News & Observer

Typically, after the checkered flag waves, the winner receives a trophy and
a kiss from the speedway "beauty queen." Wendell Scott received neither on
Dec. 1, 1963, following his triumph at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway Park.

Though it was an historic occasion in stock car racing - the first victory
by a black driver in a NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) race -
Scott's win was protested by several other drivers. After checking and
rechecking scorecards, Scott was declared the winner and the discarded
trophy was later retrieved and given to Scott by Martinsville Speedway
promoter H. Clay Earles.

Scott, a Danville, Va., driver who died on Dec. 23, 1990, was the first -
and still the only - black driver who has won a race on what now is the Cup

Congenial, stubborn and well-liked by most of his fellow competitors, he
was a frugal man whose family team poured its winnings back into the
low-budget operation. And from 1961 through 1973, when he retired, Wendell
Scott was a man ahead of the times. He raced during a period of true
segregation in the South, and he remains even today a man ahead of the
times in stock car racing.

There will be no black driver in this week's Cup race at Dover, Del. Only a
couple of African Americans have tested the tour since Scott retired.

Both on the track and in the jam-packed grandstands, NASCAR racing today,
from the grass-roots weekend short tracks to the luxurious super speedways,
is as it has been, virtually an all-white sport. And so it is, for that
matter, in other forms of motorsports, from CART and IRL Indy-car racing to
Formula One. Only in drag racing have blacks made significant strides in
the past two decades.

Louis Proyect
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