Wendell O. Scott Honored in Danville with Historic Highway Marker
Danville, VA - Danville is getting some national attention with the dedication of a historical highway marker to late NASCAR legend Wendell Scott.
Scott became the first African American to win a race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series in 1963, and Friday, hundreds came out to recognize his accomplishments, on the street named after him.
Scott's family was joined by NASCAR officials, local lawmakers and plenty of fans to honor the man who fought against discrimination to follow his dreams and open doors for others.
Wendell Scott Drive was closed in preparation for what city officials knew was going to be an overwhelming turnout.
"People came in shuttles, people parked a mile away and walked here, and people don't want to leave, " said Mayor Sherman Saunders.
The ceremony was filled with memories and words of respect for the man who bravely followed his dream of being a stock car driver and broke the color barrier in NASCAR.
"Today when NASCAR is fully engaged in reaching out to all Americans, Wendell Scott's legacy is an important part of what we do every day in our sport." The marker had been a long time in the making, " said NASCAR official Marcus Jadotte.
The marker had been a long time in the making.
Department of Historic Resources Director Kathleen Kilpatrick agrees that Scott's contributions to the sport and the community need to be commemorated.
"We felt so passionate about the Scott story being told as a way to inspire people, " Kilpatrick said.
Scott's family was center stage as the Mayor proclaimed April 5th Wendell O. Scott Day, and emotions ran high as his sons addressed the crowd.
"This is something that my father probably envisioned one day, although not on this scale, " said Scott's son, William Franklin Scott Sr.
He shared fond memories of racing and helping out throughout his father's 13 year career, but most importantly, he shared words of wisdom that his father taught him to live by.
"He would just don't ever let anyone tell you what you can't do. If you're willing to work hard, you can accomplish great things, " said William Franklin Scott Sr.
The driver and team owner passed away in 1990, but NASCAR officials say his legacy lives on through awards and scholarships given out every year in his honor - to celebrate diversity and achievement.