NASCAR: Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott to be honored next month at M’Ville

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Sprint Cup squad Front Row Motorsports and Camping World Truck Series squad Kyle Busch Motorsports have revealed special paint schemes and number changes to honor NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott during the NASCAR weekend at Martinsville Speedway from Oct. 24-26.

Scott, who passed away in 1990 and was the first African-American to win a NASCAR premier series race, is part of the HoF’s Class of 2015. He’ll be inducted alongside Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly, and Rex White.

David Ragan’s No. 34 FRM Ford Fusion will take on a throwback blue and white paint scheme reminiscent of the car that Scott won in on Dec. 1, 1963 (Jacksonville, Florida). That win was Scott’s first premier series triumph.

You can see the resemblance between Scott’s original No. 34 and the No. 34 that Ragan will drive next month:

“It’s going to be cool to honor Wendell Scott at his home track with his family,” Ragan said in a statement. “I got to drive a tribute scheme for Ned Jarrett a while back, and it’s a tribute to the history of our sport that I get to honor Mr. Scott as an inductee, the last driver to win in the No. 34 before I did [Talladega 2013].

“I’m a fan of our sport’s history and have a real appreciation for it, so it’s special to be able to bring that paint scheme back for a weekend.”

Additionally, Darrell Wallace Jr. will flip the number of his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra from No. 54 to No. 34 in honor of Scott. Last year at Martinsville, Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series event since Scott.

“I got my first win at Martinsville and the historical significance of that win and to be so close to Wendell Scott’s hometown was a really cool bonus to getting my first win,” Wallace said. “The Scott family has followed my career since I ran the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for Rev Racing and I’ve kept a relationship with the family over the years.

“Thanks to Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota and NASCAR for allowing me to run the No. 34 at Martinsville. I’m pumped to get back there and hope to get another victory.”

The release also states that members of Scott’s family will be in attendance during the Martinsville weekend and take part in question-and-answer sessions for fans.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”