How 1 Con Artist Scammed NASCAR & Competed In The Cup Series

YouTube / NASCAR

There is an immense amount of history within the legacy of NASCAR…and with that much history, there are bound to be some stories that will leave you baffled.

Back in the 1980s, before the internet became the core of all data and record-keeping, running a clever scheme was much easier to do. And that’s exactly how one man scammed NASCAR and some Nashville businesses out of more than $100,000 in today’s money.

Seemingly out of thin air, a man claiming to have a long history of success in stock car racing appeared in a local Nashville newspaper – promoting him as a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series Winston 500 with a team called “Music City Racing.”

Like the driver, L.W. Wright, the racing team had never been heard of in the motorsport industry. But even so, both were about to appear in one of the biggest races of the year…

Even today, nearly 40 years later – nobody knows who this man truly was. 

Way back in April of 1982 (just around one month before the Winston 500), a man calling himself L.W. Wright strolled into the offices of Space Age Marketing. Wright, a fast-talking man with a plan, convinces the agency head, Bernie Terrell, to hand over almost $40,000 – on the spot!

He takes his massive windfall and buys a Chevrolet Monte Carlo from NASCAR driver Sterlin Marlin. Marlin didn’t get good vibes from Wright, so he made him pay a large portion of the car in cash, the rest in check form, and required Wright to put him as the crew chief for the Winston 500.

Next thing you know, The Tennesseean is putting out a blurb on Wright. Reporter Larry Woody got a call from Wright himself that spurred the published bit and Wright didn’t hesitate to drop a few names. He told the reporter that he was sponsored by country singing sensations Merle Haggard and T.G. Sheppard…but, as you can guess, that wasn’t completely true.

As this story unfolds with new twists and turns, Wright is able to continue his con and actually makes it out on the field for this huge NASCAR race at Talladega. But, after crashing during practice, and coming in 39th following a black flag for being too slow – he vanished into thin air.

He left his stock car on pit road, hopped in the truck he’d conned out of the marketing agency head, and essentially became a ghost!

Watch this incredible story as told by NASCAR’s Race Hub below…and let us know what you think happened to the mysterious L.W. Wright.