Junior Johnson, NASCAR's Most Famous Bootlegger

David YeazellSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2008

I had the honor of sitting down with some of NASCAR's most famous legends.

MRN legendary broadcaster Barney Hall was on hand as moderator.  

In the next few days, I will share some excerpts from interviews and conversations with legendary drivers Darrell Waltrip, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Bobby and Donnie Allison, and legendary owners Leonard Wood, Ray Fox, Bud Moore and Cotton Owens.

Waddell Wilson, Raymond Parks and Charlie Glotzbach were also on hand.

Today, we look at NASCAR's most famous bootlegger, Junior Johnson.

"How is the moonshine business, Junior?" asked a smiling Barney Hall.

"It's a lot easier the legal way than it was the illegal way," said a laughing Junior Johnson.

Junior Johnson is still selling moonshine, but in a more legal and organized way. His award winning Midnight Moon and Catdaddy Moonshine can be found in 11 states.

Barney Hall continues: "Rumor has it you were offered a bribe to expose your daddy."

"That's true. When I was about 10, my younger brother and I were stopped by two government men. One of them told me to tell him where my daddy was. I said no, and my little brother said no also. He then offered me and my brother $5 to take him where my daddy was. I said no again.

"He said fine, I will give you both $10 to take me where your daddy is. I said OK, give me ten dollars. The government man said for me to tell him where my daddy was, and when he got back, he will give me my $10. I said mister, if you go where my daddy is, you ain't coming back."

Junior Johnson approached R.J. Reynolds and convinced them to become the first major sponsor of NASCAR.

As a driver, Junior Johnson won 50 races, but no championships. He was listed as one of NASCAR's top 50 drivers and is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

As an owner, he won 139 races and six championships, three each with Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough.

A panel member asked Junior: "As an owner, who would you say were your three best drivers?"

After a few moments, Junior sports a Cheshire grin and offers up his answer.

"Well, since I was a driver, I would say Junior and Johnson for the top two spots."

It took several moments for the laughing to subside.

Reporting as an honored guest, I am David Yeazell.


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