GMS Racing and the Wendell Scott Foundation are proud to unveil a special throwback paint scheme to be driven by Rajah Caruth in the upcoming NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway, which honors 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Wendell Scott.
Caruth will drive a paint scheme reminiscent of the car that Scott drove in the penultimate race of his historic career. The car this scheme is based off of, a 1971 Mercury Cyclone, represented a dream for Scott, who had poured nearly all of his financial means into purchasing the vehicle for the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Before that race, Scott picked up some assistance from fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Leonard Wood, who wrenched on the car and tuned the motor up for the event. Everything looked promising for a big day until tragedy struck down the back straightaway just a handful of laps into the race, where Scott was swept in a huge multi-car crash and badly injured.
Scott spent 32 days in the hospital with multiple fractures in his leg, as well as other injuries to his knees, pelvis, and ribs. Drivers who rushed to his aid initially thought he had passed away in the crash, but miraculously, he fought to make a full recovery, and even competed in one final NASCAR Cup Series race later that season. He would walk away from his career as a full-time driver in 1973, but his legacy continued to impact the sport of NASCAR for decades to come.
Scott recalled in a Inside NASCAR interview with Ned Jarrett, “The car I got hurt in at Talladega… that was the best car I had ever drove, but I didn’t really get a chance to do my best with it because it was on the eighth or ninth lap when they had this real bad wreck and I was right in the middle of them. It tore the car all to pieces.” Next weekend, nearly 50 years later to the week, the historic paint scheme will return to the track for the first time in honor of the NASCAR legend, sponsored by a Foundation that emblazons his name.
For several years after the infamous crash, the original car sat in the woods behind Scott’s residence and garage in Danville, Virginia, before being rescued and preserved, where it currently is on display in the Winston Cup Museum in Winston Salem, North Carolina. A fitting tie in to Caruth, who attends the nearby Winston Salem State University, located just two miles from the museum.
The scheme has great personal meaning to the Scott family, and Rajah Caruth is honored to drive with it, saying that “Having the opportunity to run a throwback scheme to Wendell Scott that honors his legacy next weekend is really special. That paint scheme in particular is very special for the entire family, and having their support for not only this race, but the entire season, is incredible. Being able to carry on his legacy is truly a blessing and a dream come true. Hopefully we are able to make him proud and give this truck the good run that he was looking for all those years ago.”
Fans are encouraged to learn more about the trailblazer by downloading the Wendell Scott Legacy App, which was recently launched on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Events hosted by the Wendell Scott Foundation will be shared on the app, along with other news and media, as well as donation links and more.
Warrick Scott, who is the grandson of Wendell and CEO of the Foundation, is looking forward to seeing this truck on track once again, stating “Although this car is associated with tragic circumstances to some extent, to me it represents a dream that came true. It was the best car that my grandfather could put together being unsponsored throughout his career… and he willed it happen. Just like anything else in the world you never know what will happen, but for him the pursuit of his purpose made it all it worth it.”
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to Darlington Raceway for its annual highly anticipated “Throwback” race on Friday, May 12th. Live coverage of the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 will be broadcasted on FOX Sports 1 (TV), the Motor Racing Network (Radio), and Sirius XM NASCAR (Channel 90) at 7:30 PM ET. Follow GMS Racing on social media for more updates and throwback paint scheme announcements.