Junior Johnson, NASCAR legend, dead at 88

Sports

Johnson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010

NASCAR hall of Fame driver Junior Johnson talks to the crowd about racing and running moonshine during the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction weekend festivities, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C.

NASCAR hall of Fame driver Junior Johnson talks to the crowd about racing and running moonshine during the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction weekend festivities, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(WGHP) – Junior Johnson, a moonshiner turned NASCAR legend, has died at the age of 88, according to NASCAR’s official website.

Johnson had been in declining health and entered hospice care earlier this week.

A winner of 50 races in NASCAR’s top division in the 1950s and 60s, Johnson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.

“His all-out style — honed from years of hauling illegal liquor at breakneck speeds through the North Carolina foothills — took a toll on his competitors and his own equipment, earning him a reputation as the hardest of the hard-chargers,” is how NASCAR.com described the racing legend.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France released the following statement, according to NASCAR.com:

“Junior Johnson truly was the ‘Last American Hero.’ From his early days running moonshine through the end of his life, Junior wholly embodied the NASCAR spirit. He was an inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer, a nod to an extraordinary career as both a driver and team owner. Between his on-track accomplishments and his introduction of Winston to the sport, few have contributed to the success of NASCAR as Junior has. The entire NASCAR family is saddened by the loss of a true giant of our sport, and we offer our deepest condolences to Junior’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

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