Every major sport has a similar story when it comes to breaking the color barrier. NASCAR, like its stick-and-ball brethren, saw its first black athletes compete at the time of the Civil Rights movement. But unlike baseball, football, basketball, and even hockey, auto racing has not maintained the presence of those early drivers, remaining an almost exclusively white sport.

NASCAR has never had a black superstar. In 64 years of racing, the only cup series regular was a gritty independent named Wendell Scott, who raced in the '60s and early '70s. Scott's 495 starts dwarf the total of the five other black racers in NASCAR's history, who combined for only nine career Sprint Cup races between them.

While Scott didn’t achieve star status like Jackie Robinson, he made a name for himself in a sport traditionally ruled by good ol’ boys. His legacy may not be as visible today as you would expect, at least not yet. You would be hard-pressed to find a black racer in NASCAR’s top divisions, but that won’t be the case for long. For eight years, the Drive for Diversity initiative has been scouring short tracks across the country for minority talent, and the program's current crop of youngsters is poised for NASCAR stardom.

Tags: nascar, black-drivers, auto-racing
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