Car movie of the day: ‘Greased Lightning’

Get to know Wendell Scott, the first African-American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner

Editor’s note: Car guys, and even car girls, can take only so much of those Hallmark holiday movies that fill the airwaves and cable systems this time of year. As an automotive alternative, we’re offering our own suggestions of our favorite car movies for your viewing pleasure. Check out more of our favorite car movies here.


Born in Danville, Virginia in 1921, Wendell Scott would become the first African-American to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, an accomplishment that is the focus of the 1977 film Greased Lightning.

Scott loved racing and turned to bootlegging to feed his family and raise money to open his own garage. He’s eventually caught, but a local racetrack owner strikes a deal with the police to let him out from many of the charges. All Scott has to do is finish the race.

Comedian Richard Pryor stars in Greased Lightning. | Warner Bros.

Comedian Richard Pryor stars in Greased Lightning. | Warner Bros.

Despite white drivers running him off the track, Scott finishes and his racing career begins. With the help of his mechanic, Woodrow, and Hutch, a white driver he meets at a race, Scott eventually climbs the ranks of NASCAR.

He suffers a devastating crash at one point, but fights all the way back to the very top.

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