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Smokey Yunick

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing

Smokey Yunick
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Wikipedia: Smokey Yunick

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Full Name: Henry Yunick
Born: 25 May 1923
Died: 9 May 2001

A race car engineer and designer.

Biography

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Smokey Yunick page on 3 October 2020, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Henry "Smokey" Yunick was an American mechanic and car designer associated with motorsports. Yunick was deeply involved in the early years of NASCAR, and he is probably most associated with that racing genre. He participated as a racer, designer, and held other jobs related to the sport, but was best known as a mechanic, builder, and crew chief.

Yunick was twice NASCAR mechanic of the year; and his teams would include 50 of the most famous drivers in the sport, winning 57 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two championships in 1951 and 1953.

He was renowned as an opinionated character who "was about as good as there ever was on engines", according to Marvin Panch, who drove stock cars for Yunick and won the 1961 Daytona 500. His trademark white uniform and battered cowboy hat, together with a cigar or corncob pipe, were a familiar sight in the pits of almost every NASCAR or Indianapolis 500 race for over twenty years. During the 1980s, he wrote a technical column, "Track Tech", for Circle Track magazine and wrote an occasional "Say, Smokey..." guest column for Popular Mechanics magazine. In 1990, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.


Images

Smokey Yunick 1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance Source:  Today's Motor Sports, January 1962
Event:  1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance
Caption:  Not a gas stop—a WATER stop, while Smokey Yunick pours the aqua over Tempest's hot rear end. Jack Bailey keeps up the supply, while Jim Kaser apparently times the affair.
Article:  Marlboro 12-hour Endurance
View photo of Smokey Yunick at the 1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance - 2.7MB
Smokey Yunick 1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance Source:  Today's Motor Sports, January 1962
Event:  1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance
Caption:  It's all over now—but they're laughing about the goo they've been rolling in. It's trans-axle lube from the Tempests. (L to R) Smokey Yunick, Ray Nichels, Nate Karras, Ralph Salyer, Brad Dennis, Chuck Blanchard, and Jim Kaser.
Article:  Marlboro 12-hour Endurance
View photo of Smokey Yunick at the 1961 Marlboro 12-Hour Endurance - 2.6MB
Smokey Yunick Rislone Advertisement Subject:  Rislone Advertisement
Source:  Popular Hot Rodding, July 1972
View Smokey Yunick Rislone Advertisement - 1,452KB


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