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Hard Driving: The Wendell Scott Story
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2009
I might be one of the first reviews here who is not a book critic. I received this book as a Christmas gift last year and was immediately captivated. Everyone in racing has great stories, but very few have had the perspective of Wendell. He had all the usual challenges of maintaining his car, paying all the bills, making it to the track, and competing to win. That's a great story in itself, but to be a black man doing this in the south in the 60's adds a completely different element. Wendell's story simply would have caused a normal human being to give up early on. What required a will of steel to endure, Brian Donovan captured very accurately in this book. Brian's detail is amazing, and benefits greatly from the fact that he was able to interview him before his death in 1990. Any other book written today would be second hand at best.

I've turned a few friends on to this book in the last year and the feedback has been very consistent with mine. Getting this book is time and money extremely well spent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A remarkable book! I saw Wendell Scott compete in the 50's and 60's, but I never really knew the overwhelming odds he was facing. Competing against factory cars with an underfinanced single car team, he still was able to run near the front and occasionally up front. This, despite the racist attitude of many bottle-throwing fans, bigoted NASCAR racing officials and the big three car makers. Scott was put into the fence on numerous occasions by redneck drivers who didn't want him to succeed, and NASCAR did nothing about it. But Scott journeyed on despite the overwhelming odds he faced every race. Even NASCAR inspectors were against him -- insisting he return with his car for re-inspection time and again, which took away valuable practice time.
I was glad to read they finally named a street after him in Danville, VA, and also that there may be a prominent display featuring Wendell at the under construction NASCAR museum in Charlotte. He is already in the Darlington and Talladega museums. It's about time! With a level playing field and decent equipment, Wendell Scott could have been a NASCAR giant on par with the very best drivers NASCAR produced. I highly recommend this extremely well written, inspirational book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2008
Hard Driving is an apt title for the life story of Wendell Scott. Scott, an African American, was determined to race even though his efforts were thwarted by nearly every one involved in the racing industry of the 1950's and 1960's. The author follows Scotts travails from his youth in Danville, Virginia as a daredevil on bicycles and roller skates, through his brushes with the law as a bootleg whiskey runner, to his two decades running an unsponsored effort to race with the rapidly expanding organization NASCAR. Through his in-depth research, Donovan has put together the story of a black mans determination to do something he was very good at, despite the constant roadblocks put in his way. This book, like Scotts life, is inspiring, infuriating, and ultimately a heck of a ride.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Donovan has turned his reporter's eye on a dimly lit corner of the civil rights story and brought it to life. With superb story telling and exhaustive research, Mr. Donovan lays bare the racial hatred and bigotry rampant in the closed world of dirt track racing a generation ago. Jackie Robinson had it easy compared to the daunting wall of racist hatred faced by Wendell Scott. It's a true story that reads like a thriller. A story filled with the grit and determination of one man to overcome innumerable obstacles the only way he knew how--to win races. Its a factual account of a poor black man's rise from obscurity to the winner's circle set amidst the roar of engines and the dust of deeply racist Southern tracks. Through Donovan's voice, we get a whole new meaning of race in America.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2008
I never knew or cared about race car driving (still think it's a waste of precious fuel), but when I was given this book to review, I couldn't put it down. It is the story of Wendell Scott, the courageous and remarkably dogged driver who broke NASCAR's color bar in 1952, and what it took out of him. It should be required reading for anyone of any color who appreciates the human spirit - and especially for teenagers who are too young to remember Jackie Robinson, and don't grasp what the Civil Rights Movement was all about. Read it, give it to your friends, your relatives, your kids' athletic coach. And make sure your library has a copy of the book. Richard Pryor starred in a fictionalized biofilm about Scott called "Greased Lightning" (1977).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2011
"Hard Driving" is a must read for any NASCAR fan. Besides being well written, which you'd expect from a Pulitzer Prize winner, the book gives a rare inside look into the inner workings of stock car racing in its early days. More importantly, it exposes the racial hatred and bigotry that was so prevalent in NASCAR and its fans, indeed the country as a whole, during Wendell's career and the terrible effects it had on Mr. Scott and his family. It also shines a light on a hero who persevered under imposssible odds to pursue his passion.
Very well done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2013
I found the book to be very interesting and I believe it is a must read for any true Nascar Fan, especially if they are a minority.. I love the idea that the author spent about year interviewing Wendell Scott, his friends, and of course his sons who went to many of the races with him as his crew.. The books tell the story of Wendell Scott (Black Driver) and his determination to succeed in a time where he faced many prejudices because he was black. The many struggles he had in dealing with prejudice track owners and drivers who resented him..
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2008
HARD DRIVING will open your eyes as to the many injustices suffered by Wendell Scott. You'll discover that many of these wrong doings were perpetrated by or overlooked by officials we have been programmed to believe always had clean hands. Mr. Scott's hands were virtually tied when it came to having anyone in the hierarchy of NASCAR fight for him. You'll also read about the many good guys in the sport who came to his aid. Many (Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, etc.) believed that he could have been a big star if only treated fairly. Read this great book both from a civil rights and humanistic perspective. I could not put it down!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
Wow, I am so glad I took the time to read this book. It really sets things in perspective. I can only imagine what Mr. Scott, his team and family must have endured while trying to compete in a sport he so loved. But upon reading Mr. Donovan's book, I now have more respect for Wendell, his team and family than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, I knew little of him or his story until recently. As a newcomer (circa early 1990s) to stock car auto racing I did not see the early days when Wendell and others raced. But now I know much more about it. I am so glad that I believe one of his cars, the 1971 Cyclone is apparently now restored in a museum and can only wish that others would be some day as well. Maybe the Dodge hauler will also be done. Again I offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Donovan and Wendell's family and friends for helping get this book to print. I hope in some days time, all will know his story, triumphs and tribulations. He certainly deserves recognition with any that have gotten it in this sport. I only wish there were more pictures of Wendell, his team and cars posted on the internet. Fortunately there are several good ones in Hard Driving. But I crave more. God speed Wendell. Thanks again. This is a must read for all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2013
Awesome book and yes it changed my life and they way i look at nascar now ,a must read for sure
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