Has NASCAR’s D.B. Cooper been found? Here, at the start of the week when a new NASCAR Hall of Fame class will be announced, a member of the sport’s Hall of Infamy has broken a four-decade silence.
On this very date 40 years ago, a man named L.W. Wright competed at stock car racing’s highest level on its fastest racetrack, starting 36th and finishing 39th in one of NASCAR’s crown jewel events, the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Prior to the race, no one in the Cup Series garage had heard of Wright, but the sanctioning body had for some reason accepted his racing résumé on little more than the word of the Tennessee trucking businessman, and a public relations group that had pitched on his behalf.
As soon as the race ended, he reportedly abandoned the Chevy Monte Carlo he had purchased for the event and disappeared. He has spent the past four decades evading everyone from NASCAR officials to private investigators hired by the people he still owed for that race car to a lot of lawyers and a growing number of would-be amateur auto-racing sleuths, eager to meet the man who somehow conned his way onto a racetrack alongside the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and race winner Darrell Waltrip.
… [A]fter years of efforts from journalists to find Wright, he was finally located by another longtime motor sports writer, Rick Houston, who worked at the legendary Grand National Scene and now hosts the NASCAR history-based “The Scene Vault” podcast. Houston spent an entire year searching for, locating and then ultimately persuading Wright to finally tell his story. On an agreed-upon date in mid-April, Houston was ushered to an undisclosed location, where Wright, now 73, was waiting. Houston was understandably skeptical about meeting a man who has worked very diligently for nearly half a century to elude anyone from the NASCAR community. Because of that, the writer was very thorough about positively identifying Wright. Over the years, many have hypothesized that the one-off racer’s name was never actually L.W. Wright. But, armed with a stack of back issues of Grand National Scene and photos from that day in 1982, Houston is positive the man he interviewed is the one in those images. The uniform Wright brought with him for the meeting was also a perfect match, all the way down to the stitching.
— ESPN.com —
Forty years ago today, L.W. Wright became a legend. One of the most anticipated post-race interviews ever is available now … only on The Scene Vault Podcast.
— The Scene Vault Podcast (@TheSceneVault) May 2, 2022