That's Racin Magazine

S.C. track, extras have roles in Wendell Scott documentary

Thursday, Oct. 07, 2010

RICHBURG, S.C. – Right there, front and center in the crowd scene, was a guy straight out of central casting for 1963.

Liberty coveralls; boots with heels worn down on the sides, covered in red clay; battered fedora, sour face shaking back and forth, side to side; a wordless "No!" watching a black man get a trophy for winning a car race.

All for show.

True for the most part, unfortunately, in 1963, but filmed these past few days at I-77 Speedway in Richburg in Chester County.

It is the movies. The disdain is fake. Hollywood is the only place for hate, anymore.

The head shaker is a white guy named Ray Stillwell from Lowrys, on the other side of Chester, in his first movie role ever. When the take was over, Stillwell and Charles F. Porter, the actor portraying legendary black race car driver Wendell Scott, chatted and laughed like old buddies.

NASCAR Media Group, Max Siegel and ESPN are teaming up on this racing movie about cars on the hard-charging, fender-scraping, knuckle-busting hard red clay dirt tracks of 1963 and before.

The movie is about another race, too - the race of the driver. That driver back then was Scott, the first black NASCAR driver and race winner.

Chester's speedway was turned into Jacksonville's Speedway Park in Florida, where Scott won his sole race - but only after the victory was given to another driver.

That is all true, and part of the movie that will air on ESPN in February 2011 as part of Black History Month.

Extra Carl Simpson of Bedford, Va., formerly of Rock Hill, knows it to be true because he lived it. He was a friend and fellow driver with Scott, so close that he was a pallbearer at Scott's funeral in 1990.

"He put his own carburetor on my car and I won my first race with it," Simpson said. "Seventy-five dollars. I still have the envelope it came in."