StoryCorps 411: The Ballad of Wendell Scott

Monday, February 09, 2015

On January 30, 2015 Wendell Scott became the first African American driver to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Scott started racing in 1952 toward the end of the Jim Crow era, and was the first African American to win at NASCAR’s elite major league level. Wendell Scott died in 1990. One of his sons, Frank, and his grandson Warrick, sat down to remember him for StoryCorps.


Selected Shorts

Stephen Colbert Presents Stories of Male Rivalry

Friday, January 31, 2014

Men get into it, in two stories hosted by Stephen Colbert. A bawdy Cuban analyst taunts his neurotic patient in "The Treatment," and an older lawyer desperately races against a younger man on the Charles River in "Palais de Justice."


The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life of Grand Prix Driver Phil Hill

Friday, January 11, 2013

Michael Cannell tells the story of Phil Hill-a lowly California mechanic who became the first American-born driver to win the Grand Prix. The Limit  charts Hill’s journey from acing midget cars in dusty California lots to Grand Prix tracks across Europe.

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State Scolds NYRA over Appointees

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

State officials are threatening to replace the New York Racing Association, which runs two race tracks in the metro region.



Formula One to Hold Race in New Jersey

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Jersey just got racy. Governor Chris Christie formally announced Tuesday that London-based Formula 1 will hold a Grand Prix car race along the New Jersey side of the Hudson in June 2013.


The Takeaway

'Senna' Documents the Life of a Formula One Legend

Friday, August 19, 2011

Formula One racing attracts fans all over the world, and back in the '80s and '90s there was one man who everybody wanted to see race: Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. Known for being a charismatic risk taker on and off the track, Senna's legions of fans were shocked when he was killed in a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. A new documentary called "Senna" tells the story of his life. The film won the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary at this year's Sundance Festival.


The Takeaway

Indy 500: Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Friday, May 27, 2011

This weekend marks one hundred years since the first driver put tires to the starting line at the Indy 500, America’s most competitive car race. Sports writer Charlie Leerhsen is the author of "Blood and Smoke, A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500." Leerhsen discusses a century's worth of squealing tires and helps solve a lingering mystery from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's very first race.


Transportation Nation

Horse Players Train To The Track Again In NY

Friday, April 29, 2011

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) As of today, thoroughbred racing fans in New York resumed riding the Long Island Railroad to Belmont Raceway, a storied track just east of the borough of Queens.

The New York MTA cut the service last year--except for one day in June--to help close a gap in its budget. That one day was the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, when tens of thousands flock to the track. Other than that, horse players were left to drive or take the bus.

But then the New York State Racing Association came into a windfall, which it is drawing on to pay for the restored train service.

The shift in the association's fortunes began when New York State shuttered its dozens of Off-Track Betting parlors in December. As a result, attendance at Aqueduct Racetrack, another local venue for thoroughbred racing, jumped by 50 percent — and the handle, or total amount bet on the races, was up 70 percent.

New York Racing Association spokesman Dan Silver said that has been good for the bottom line of his company, which gets 10 percent of all wagers made at the track — more than the 3 percent it was getting from bets made at Off-Track Betting.

Silver said he's expecting a similar surge in attendance at Belmont Raceway during the upcoming spring and summer season.

That's why the association stepped up last week and agreed to pay the $150,000 it will cost to restore Long Island Railroad service to the track. Silver said the investment is worth it to get more customers. Spectators who take the train to Belmont this weekend are getting free admission to the grandstand.

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