Academy Award winning producer David Steward II has partnered with the family of Wendell Scott in order to produce multiple projects about the NASCAR Hall of Famer’s life.
According to Deadline, Lion Forge Films is going to be working with Scott 34 Racing to create a variety of films, TV series, digital content and games about Wendell Scott. Lion Forge Films produced Hair Love, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2020.
Wendell Scott’s life is certainly a fascinating one made for the screen. Scott broke the NASCAR color barrier in the 50s when it was a regional sport in the rural Southeast. Like many drivers from NASCAR’s beginning, Scott was a bootlegger and was able to drive away from the cops as he delivered moonshine throughout the South. Relying on second-hand equipment from other teams and trying to make the most with less than the bigger teams, Scott raced from 1961 to 1973 in what is now the NASCAR Cup Series where he amassed 20 top 5’s and 147 top 10’s in 495 career races.
Scott’s crowning achievement in NASCAR was a win in Jacksonville in 1964 that wasn’t originally given to Scott. Whether it was actually a clerical error or a fear of fan backlash at the track if they saw a Black man win a race, Scott finished first but wasn’t given the win until a couple hours after the race was over. It remains the only time a Black person won a NASCAR race in the top division.
After a near-fatal crash in 1973, the 51-year-old Scott retired from NASCAR and died of cancer in 1990. Scott was portrayed by Richard Pryor in the 1977 film Greased Lightning and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
It’s noted that projects being put into development include “a docuseries and a fictionalized limited series for TV/streaming that, through the lens of [Scott’s] life, will cover themes of family, racism, American culture, and racing. The series will tell stories of Scott’s upbringing, time in WWII, bootlegging, raising a family, battling racism, breaking color barriers, overcoming adversity, and of course – winning.”
This comes at a rather fitting time for NASCAR. After the sport responded to George Floyd’s death by banning the Confederate flag at their tracks, Bubba Wallace has become an outspoken leader on race issues within NASCAR. In fact, Steward has a connection with Wallace as Steward’s father is the chairman and founder of World Wide Technology who sponsored Wallace when he drove for Richard Petty Motorsports.
This season, Wallace has teamed up with Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to drive for 23XI Racing and while it’s a new team, it should give him his best chance to win in the Cup Series. It’s possible that in 2021, Wendell Scott will no longer be the only Black person to win a Cup Series race.
[Deadline/Photo: NASCAR Hall of Fame/ISC Archives via Getty Images]