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Danville racing pioneer featured in ‘Cars 3’ movie opening Friday
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Danville racing pioneer featured in ‘Cars 3’ movie opening Friday

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Danville racing pioneer Wendell Scott and his iconic No. 34 car will hit the big screen starting Friday.

The Wendell Scott Foundation is offering select Danville residents a chance to see the “Cars 3” movie by Disney Pixar at a red carpet screening and meet members of the Scott family, including Scott’s sons and former crew members Friday.

“They’re going to be there to share in the moment and talk to the kids who are attending, sharing some of the triumphs and the anguish as well,” Warrick Scott, grandson of Wendell Scott, told the Register & Bee. “They want to talk about what’s involved in overcoming things. If my grandfather hadn’t done that he wouldn’t have been in Cars 3.”

Wendell Scott was a Danville native and the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR premiere-level race. Scott began racing in 1947 and won more than 100 races before he won the 1959 NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championship.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer is portrayed in the animated film as Mr. River Scott.

“I wanted them to be able to feel the impact of my grandfather’s legacy,” the grandson said. “I wanted them to experience a grand event the same way the world of entertainment does. The character inspired by him is long overdue, and I wanted to share that with our region.”

Warrick Scott has already seen the movie twice: once at a special NASCAR screening for families, and once at the Disneyland premier.

“The character is humorous, he’s supportive, he’s exciting, and I think a lot of those traits mirror some of my grandfather’s traits,” he said. “It’s wonderful that he was selected and not left out of this type of honor. When the film releases … it’ll be seen all over the world, and no matter where you search, it will always point you back to Danville to look at Wendell Scott.”

His overall racing career spanned four decades, from 1947 to 1989, shortly before his death in 1990.

The 8 p.m. movie showing at Danville Stadium Cinemas is by invitation only, but the 7 to 8 p.m. mixer is open to the public.

“With so many sad things taking place lately, we wanted to have something to bring families out together and bring some bonding to the community,” Warrick Scott said. “My hope is to have it be a celebration and to have everyone walking out feel really proud and encouraged about the future of our area.”

Ceillie ​Simkiss reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at csimkiss@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7981.

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