- Text and errors by: Chris Breeden

So long, hero!

Long time NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, passes away at the age of 88.

1y ago

Word is quickly spreading around about the passing of 50 time NASCAR race winner Robert Glenn "Junior" Johnson. The NASCAR Hall of Fame has confirmed the legendary driver and car owner passed away earlier today after being placed in hospice care earlier this week.

Johnson was an inaugural inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a 50 time NASCAR race winning driver, a 132 race winning car owner, a one time Daytona 500 winner and if all that wasn't enough, he also managed to win 6 championships as a car owner.

Junior Johnson was around at the very beginning of NASCAR and was one of the drivers that started racing as a daytime pursuit, while hauling "Moonshine" at night. He was immortalized by writer Tom Wolfe in a 1966 article for Esquire magazine called, "The Last American Hero". A film adaptation followed in 1973 starring Jeff Bridges.

Junior at Dayton

Junior at Dayton

Cale Yarborough won three championships in a row driving for Johnson and Darrell Waltrip also won 3 championships in five years while piloting a Junior Johnson car.

In 2007 Johnson told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that the best Christmas present he ever received was in 1986 when, then president Ronald Reagan, pardoned him for a 1956 moonshine arrest. Authorities staked out the family still and arrested him on the spot, Johnson was never caught while driving a car.

Junior Johnson was born in 1931 near Ronda, North Carolina, just a few miles away from North Wilkesboro Speedway. He was the fourth of seven children in a farming family.

He will be missed!

Junior Johnson, with "legal" liquor.

Junior Johnson, with "legal" liquor.

About the Author:

"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."

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Comments (3)

  • Undiscovered NASCAR around 1960 and although it has been through a great many changes, one constant was Junior Johnson. He will surely be missed and I doubt if there's anyone that can fill his shoes, nor should anyone really try.

      1 year ago
  • Sorry to hear that he passed. A true great when NASCAR was worth watching.

      1 year ago