Two names I expected to see among the candidates for the NASCAR Hall of Fame were Humpy Wheeler and Bruton Smith. I didn't.
A name I needed to see was Wendell Scott. For the first time, he was included.
Scott came out of Danville, Va., cotton mill country, and the mill life was not for him. Racing was, racing other drivers and before that racing revenuers and running moonshine.
He won only one race. He never had superior equipment. He did what he did with what he had.
He did it on tracks that did not welcome black drivers. This was before diversity. His car regularly was jolted and banged into by competitors and he couldn't retaliate because he was not on his turf and he wanted to prove he belonged by beating them. Although he didn't make a lot of money or win a lot of races, he did over time win the respect of the other drivers.
I've read what Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron went through in baseball, the voices they heard, the taunts and the hate. I have no idea what it would be like to step onto a field, or strap into a race car, and know I was disliked not because of who I was but what I was. Man, the courage that must take.
Scott won in Jacksonville in 1963, the first and only black driver to win a major NASCAR race. He ran 495 races in 13 years.
Five nominees will be selected. I hope, and suspect, that Scott will be one of them.