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Sneak Peek: 'Wendell Scott: A Race Story'

After today's Daytona 500 keep the NASCAR theme going tonight by tuning into ESPN's documentary "Wendell Scott: A Race Story," which airs  Sunday, Feb. 20, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

This documentary relies heavily on re-enactments and while I am generally not a fan of that type of filmmaking, it works here to bring the viewer back to Scott's 1963 win at Jacksonville Speedway. Scott remains the only African-American to win a NASCAR series race.

The film is built around Scott's victory, which was tainted due to the prevailing racial attitudes of the time. But the heart of the film is the interviews with Scott's four children and his widow. They speak in great detail about their father's struggle to simply field a car while using used parts purchased from a junkyard.

Scott's journey is every bit as important as Jackie Robinson's. And perhaps tougher. He drove in the south during the 1950s and 1960s and there were times when promoters wouldn't even announce that a man of color was driving. But it worked both ways, when they thought they could make a buck and drum up interest, the promoters would use Scott's race to sell tickets.

We won't give too much away, but here are some highlights of the film:

* A segment on Scott's early days as a moonshine runner, not uncommon for drivers of that era. Junior Johnson was one of the top moonshiine drivers of the day.

* When Scott's daughter Cheryl describes the hair on her arms standing up when her father came into a turn on the old dirt tracks of the south.

* Appearances by Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Darrell Waltrip, all of whom raced against Scott.

Wendell's sons also tell moving stories about being on the road with their dad, who at times was racing just to make sure he could pay the mortgage. Ultimately, this inspirational -- and at times gut-wrenching film -- is a family story. They were all in it together.

Also in the film is Brian Donovan the author of "Hard Driving: The Wendell Scott Story." Donovan won a 1995 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting while working for Newsday.

It was produced by NASCAR Media Group,  Max Siegel Inc. and ESPN Films.

New York Sports