Robert Glenn Johnson, Jr hails from Wilkes County North Carolina where his father was a life long bootlegger who is said to have spent nearly twenty of his sixty three years in jail.
Junior Johnson also spent a year in jail in 1956 for being caught with an illegal still, but never for running moonshine twixt still and black market retailer. In 1986 Juniors right to vote was restored after President Regan granted Johnson a Presidential Pardon.
In 1953 Junior made one NASCAR Grand National start at Darlington in an Oldsmobile which he crashed but still took home $110. By 1963 when today’s featured Chevrolet Impala SS was built Junior had won 27 top tier NASCAR Grand National races and his end of season ranking’s had already peaked with two sixth places in points in 1955 and 1961.
Junior Drove the Ray Fox owned #3 Holly Farms Chevrolet Impala SS in 32 of the 55 Grand National races run in the 1963 season and won seven of them which included his Duel qualifying race at Daytona Superspeedway, Hillsboro, two wins at Hickory which was still a dirt track, Atlanta, and Charlotte. At the season ending race on the Riverside road course Junior showed his versatility by driving a Bill Stoppe entered Mercury to a fifth place finish from 19th on the grid.
By the end of his career only one driver had more race wins than Junior, three time champion Lee Petty had 54 race wins, and Junior was level with two time champ Ned Jarrett on 50 race wins.
Before hanging up his helmet for good at the end of 1966 Junior brought his own team to NASCAR’s top Grand National tier in 1965 entering 36 races of the 55 races and winning 13 of them to finish 12th in the final championship standings.
After a short seven race schedule in 1966 Junior focused on running his cars for other drivers which most notably included the three consecutive championship winning seasons with Cale Yarborough from 1975 to 1977 and then three more championship winning seasons with Darrell “Jaws” Waltrip in 1981, ’82 and ’85.
Junior retired from the sport in 1995 by which time his teams had clocked up 132 NASCAR race wins still only bettered by Hendrick Motorsports on 231 top tier NASCAR race victories and Petty Enterprises with 268 top tier NASCAR race victories.
In retirement Junior has kept busy running Junior Johnson Pork Skins Inc and Piedmont Distillers which produce batches of legal Midnight Moon described as “Smoother than vodka. Better than whiskey. Best shine ever.”
The #3 Holly Farms Chevrolet Impala SS owner Ray Fox got his break in after the second world war as a mechanic, he was named mechanic of the year in 1956 after cars he worked on recorded 22 race victories.
In 1960 Ray and Junior were on the John Masoni owned Chevrolet team when they won the Daytona 500.
In 1962 Ray founded his own team which ran for 12 years with 1963 being the most successful, his team recorded a total of 14 races from 200 starts before retiring, he served as a NASCAR official from 1990 to 1996. Ray passed away aged 98 earlier this year.
Thanks for joining me on this “Superspeedway Or Dirt” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !