Interesting News Items
Cars 3 Smokey Character Images Released

Cars 3: Smokey One of the New Characters  |  Posted May 4, 2017

Smokey Yunick's legacy continues as “Smokey” in Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3. Click to enlarge images.

Cars 3 Smokey Character

Cars 3 Smokey Character with Lightning McQueen and other characters

(images © Pixar)

Smokey in the Movies

Cars 3: Smokey One of the New Characters  |  Posted March 29, 2017

ESPN reported today that Smokey will be one of the new characters in the upcoming Cars 3 movie. The movie will be in theaters on June 16, 2017.

Click for the full article on ESPN.com

The Smokey Yunick Episode

Scott Benjamin & Ben Bowlin on CarStuff.com  |  Posted August 18, 2015

Trish found this really well-done podcast on Smokey. It's definitely worth a listen!

Summary: Mechanic, designer, visionary: it's tough to put a label on Smokey Yunick. Listen in as the guys explore his role in NASCAR, his history, and the legacy he's left to modern racing

Click to listen to the episode: carstuffshow.com

Americarna - The Legend of Smokey Yunick

Ray Evernham  |  Posted August 18, 2015

Checkout the Americarna feature on Smokey's racing career.

Click to watch the trailer velocity.com

The Name They’re Missing
Smokey Yunick deserves a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame…

Mike Hembree | Posted April 13, 2012 Charlotte, NC

The 25 nominees for the next class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame make up an impressive group.

Many of them – probably most – will wind up in the Charlotte, N.C., Hall of Honor in time.

It will difficult for voters, once again, to pick only five from a list that includes such names as Buck Baker, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts, Cotton Owens, Wendell Scott, Leonard Wood and Rusty Wallace.

Voters, however, once again won’t have the opportunity to vote for a name that should have been on the first list of nominees but has remained absent throughout the process.

That’s Smokey Yunick – master mechanic, classic crew chief and champion rule-bender.

Click here to read the rest of the article: nascar.speedtv.com

Smokey Yunick Garage Property to Be Developed

Daytona Beach, FL - Look for changes at the property that was once home to the garage of racing legend Smokey Yunick on Riverside Drive. Brent Dill, president of the Swerdlow Group which is behind MG on the Halifax, in an exclusive interview with WNDB’s “Morning Drive” show says he has inked a deal for the property and is starting the permit process for demolishing the burned out building and clearing the land.

Dill says he sees that land as key to the redevelopment of an area he hopes will be a "sort of a marina type community".

Yunick's garage burned in a fire in April that investigators say was arson. Yunick, a NASCAR legend, died in 2001.

Original story link

2011 Black Crow Media

A recent letter to the editor in the Daytona Beach News-Journal showed an interesting perspective on Smokey: Link
A Legend Advocated for Education

by Dorothy Hyland, Holly Hill, Florida (June 21, 2011 Letter to the Editor)

Now that all the excitement is revving up for the July races, I remember one night in the 1970s when Smokey Yunick was the guest speaker for the annual meeting of the Volusia County Science Teachers.

Racing was taking hold as a major sport, and it originated in Daytona Beach. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to ask Smokey Yunick to be the guest speaker for the meeting. When he said "Yes," the meeting opened not only to the science teachers but students and their families, as well. That night the auditorium at Mainland High School was packed.

As Smokey entered the auditorium wearing his signature cowboy hat and cowboy boots, I wondered what topic he selected for this diverse audience.

After the introduction, Smokey took over the meeting – completely!

For one solid hour he had the audience spellbound. He started with a brief history of auto racing and then launched into his topic – education.

He described how much math and science went into the design of race cars and race tracks. He explained how aerodynamics, physics, mechanics, weather conditions, psychology and even English played essential roles in the success of a race car and driver. He stressed the importance of correct English, since he was the author of many articles in professional magazines.

Smokey encouraged the students to take their academics seriously, especially if they were considering a career in racing. He emphasized that it takes more than just being able to turn a key in the ignition and race around a track at high speed.

Everyone present came away with a greater appreciation for the skills and designs that were making racing such a competitive sport. The audience also recognized the intelligence and innovative ideas that were protected by the cowboy hat.

Now as I go by the vacant lot that once was the site for "The Best Damn Garage," named and owned by a very special person, I am reminded of the night that Smokey Yunick placed education as a priority for a successful racing career and for a successful life.

Ken Willis chimes in on Smokey and Indy in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: Link
Smokey Happiest at Indy in 1969

By Ken Willis, My Two Cents (May 29, 2011)

Between the fire that destroyed the last remaining part of his old garage, the 10th anniversary of his death and another NASCAR Hall of Fame list of nominees without his name, Smokey Yunick has spilled quite a bit of ink on these pages in recent weeks.

He would’ve loved it. Even more so today, race day at Indianapolis. For all his NASCAR success, nothing got Smokey’s juices flowing like Indy, maybe because of all the riches that came with simply being competitive there through the 1960s and ’70s. He used to say he would’ve pulled a car to Indy with a rope if that’s what it took to get to the Indianapolis 500, which for a long stretch of history, was to May what Christmas is to December.

Smokey had many moments at Indy -- good, bad, drunk and sober -- but hanging on his office wall was a reminder of what almost was. It was a wooden plaque with a hose clamp glued to it -- "$200,000 hose clamp," the plate said.

That clamp had come off the car of Arnie Knepper, who’d wrecked before the halfway mark of the 1969 Indy 500. The cleanup crew missed that one little piece of debris, and boy what a miss it was. If they’d picked it up, Smokey’s unique legend would’ve included an Indy 500 to go with his two Daytona 500s, and poor ol’ Joe Leonard, the driver who’d come so close the year before, would’ve been a star.

Ralph Johnson, Smokey's longtime accomplice who still lives locally, picks up the story.

"The happiest I ever saw Smokey at Indy was ’69," says Johnson. "Bunky Knudsen ran Ford. He bought a car and sent us to Indy. We had a Gurney Eagle waiting for us. You know, Smokey played ‘poor boy’ most of the time, but he was the best-funded sonofabitch out there racin’. He always spent the company's money. I’m not knocking it. I was proud to be a part of it."

In April, it had taken a few hours for Smokey to come to terms with Joe Leonard on a driving deal. Smokey, in his wild autobiography, said he offered Joe $10,000 and half of the purse, and when Joe suggested Smokey needed him more than he needed Smokey, Smokey hung up the phone on him – but not before saying he would strap a chimp in the cockpit and run the car via remote control. Joe called back and ended up in the car, which was dubbed "The City of Daytona Beach."

They qualified easily and about two-thirds through the race, Joe was running second behind Mario Andretti and begging Smokey to let him pass for the lead and take off.

Smokey, as they all did in those days, communicated with Leonard by using his chalkboard in the pit stall.

"Mario’s gear box was falling apart," recalls Johnson. "You could hear it grinding and clunking coming down the straightaway. Joe wanted to go around him, but Smokey said no. He gave him the board and said no, just sit tight."

At about the three-quarter mark, Mario kicks up the hose clamp left over from Knepper’s wreck and it flies through Leonard’s radiator. Leonard’s car starts smoking. He’s eventually black-flagged and comes to the pits with everyone’s day ruined. Leonard hops from the car, peels off part of his driving uniform and starts giving interviews. But the best part of the story still remained.

Mickey Thompson, the off-road legend and friend of Smokey, was working with the team. While Johnson and another longtime Smokey crewman, Emory Lunsford, are left to wonder what could’ve been, Mickey asks Smokey if he’d be willing to slap on a new radiator if he had one.

"Mickey said, ‘get that radiator out; I’ll get you a new radiator,’ " says Johnson. "Emory and I, we get the nose off the car. Got the hoses, the water is out, boom, the radiator is out. All of a sudden Mickey is standing there and here’s the radiator. But, the brackets it had been attached to are still on the radiator, and they’ve been cut.

"Mickey had gone over to Dan Gurney’s garage – Gurney’s cars were the best cars there – and he had literally cut and pulled the radiator out of Gurney’s spare car. He hadn’t talked to anybody; he broke into Gurney’s garage. Later, Gurney was fit to be tied."

Turns out, the radiator was free and somewhat available, but not a perfect match.

"Nothing would line up," says Johnson. "I remember Smokey said, ‘the nose will hold it on.’ So Emory and I get the nose on, put the zoots in, and now we gotta get Joe and throw him back in the car. He went out there...I don’t remember the finish. It was down there."

Actually, with all that, Leonard still finished a respectable sixth, seven laps down.

"It was very close to being the jackpot," says Johnson. "You know, Andretti should’ve won Indy 12 times, and the one time he did win it, he shouldn’t have."


From time to time, we’ll post links to interesting items...
 (click headline to read story)
Cars 3 Smokey Character Images Released

Cars 3: Smokey One of the New Characters  |  Posted May 4, 2017

Smokey Yunick's legacy continues as “Smokey” in Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3. Click to enlarge images.

Cars 3 Smokey Character

Cars 3 Smokey Character with Lightning McQueen and other characters

(images © Pixar)

Smokey in the Movies

Cars 3: Smokey One of the New Characters  |  Posted March 29, 2017

ESPN reported today that Smokey will be one of the new characters in the upcoming Cars 3 movie. The movie will be in theaters on June 16, 2017.

Click for the full article on ESPN.com

The Smokey Yunick Episode

Scott Benjamin & Ben Bowlin on CarStuff.com  |  Posted August 18, 2015

Trish found this really well-done podcast on Smokey. It's definitely worth a listen!

Summary: Mechanic, designer, visionary: it's tough to put a label on Smokey Yunick. Listen in as the guys explore his role in NASCAR, his history, and the legacy he's left to modern racing

Click to listen to the episode: carstuffshow.com

Americarna - The Legend of Smokey Yunick

Ray Evernham  |  Posted August 18, 2015

Checkout the Americarna feature on Smokey's racing career.

Click to watch the trailer velocity.com

The Name They’re Missing
Smokey Yunick deserves a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame…

Mike Hembree | Posted April 13, 2012 Charlotte, NC

The 25 nominees for the next class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame make up an impressive group.

Many of them – probably most – will wind up in the Charlotte, N.C., Hall of Honor in time.

It will difficult for voters, once again, to pick only five from a list that includes such names as Buck Baker, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts, Cotton Owens, Wendell Scott, Leonard Wood and Rusty Wallace.

Voters, however, once again won’t have the opportunity to vote for a name that should have been on the first list of nominees but has remained absent throughout the process.

That’s Smokey Yunick – master mechanic, classic crew chief and champion rule-bender.

Click here to read the rest of the article: nascar.speedtv.com

Smokey Yunick Garage Property to Be Developed

Daytona Beach, FL - Look for changes at the property that was once home to the garage of racing legend Smokey Yunick on Riverside Drive. Brent Dill, president of the Swerdlow Group which is behind MG on the Halifax, in an exclusive interview with WNDB’s “Morning Drive” show says he has inked a deal for the property and is starting the permit process for demolishing the burned out building and clearing the land.

Dill says he sees that land as key to the redevelopment of an area he hopes will be a "sort of a marina type community".

Yunick's garage burned in a fire in April that investigators say was arson. Yunick, a NASCAR legend, died in 2001.

Original story link

2011 Black Crow Media

A recent letter to the editor in the Daytona Beach News-Journal showed an interesting perspective on Smokey: Link
A Legend Advocated for Education

by Dorothy Hyland, Holly Hill, Florida (June 21, 2011 Letter to the Editor)

Now that all the excitement is revving up for the July races, I remember one night in the 1970s when Smokey Yunick was the guest speaker for the annual meeting of the Volusia County Science Teachers.

Racing was taking hold as a major sport, and it originated in Daytona Beach. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to ask Smokey Yunick to be the guest speaker for the meeting. When he said "Yes," the meeting opened not only to the science teachers but students and their families, as well. That night the auditorium at Mainland High School was packed.

As Smokey entered the auditorium wearing his signature cowboy hat and cowboy boots, I wondered what topic he selected for this diverse audience.

After the introduction, Smokey took over the meeting – completely!

For one solid hour he had the audience spellbound. He started with a brief history of auto racing and then launched into his topic – education.

He described how much math and science went into the design of race cars and race tracks. He explained how aerodynamics, physics, mechanics, weather conditions, psychology and even English played essential roles in the success of a race car and driver. He stressed the importance of correct English, since he was the author of many articles in professional magazines.

Smokey encouraged the students to take their academics seriously, especially if they were considering a career in racing. He emphasized that it takes more than just being able to turn a key in the ignition and race around a track at high speed.

Everyone present came away with a greater appreciation for the skills and designs that were making racing such a competitive sport. The audience also recognized the intelligence and innovative ideas that were protected by the cowboy hat.

Now as I go by the vacant lot that once was the site for "The Best Damn Garage," named and owned by a very special person, I am reminded of the night that Smokey Yunick placed education as a priority for a successful racing career and for a successful life.

Ken Willis chimes in on Smokey and Indy in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: Link
Smokey Happiest at Indy in 1969

By Ken Willis, My Two Cents (May 29, 2011)

Between the fire that destroyed the last remaining part of his old garage, the 10th anniversary of his death and another NASCAR Hall of Fame list of nominees without his name, Smokey Yunick has spilled quite a bit of ink on these pages in recent weeks.

He would’ve loved it. Even more so today, race day at Indianapolis. For all his NASCAR success, nothing got Smokey’s juices flowing like Indy, maybe because of all the riches that came with simply being competitive there through the 1960s and ’70s. He used to say he would’ve pulled a car to Indy with a rope if that’s what it took to get to the Indianapolis 500, which for a long stretch of history, was to May what Christmas is to December.

Smokey had many moments at Indy -- good, bad, drunk and sober -- but hanging on his office wall was a reminder of what almost was. It was a wooden plaque with a hose clamp glued to it -- "$200,000 hose clamp," the plate said.

That clamp had come off the car of Arnie Knepper, who’d wrecked before the halfway mark of the 1969 Indy 500. The cleanup crew missed that one little piece of debris, and boy what a miss it was. If they’d picked it up, Smokey’s unique legend would’ve included an Indy 500 to go with his two Daytona 500s, and poor ol’ Joe Leonard, the driver who’d come so close the year before, would’ve been a star.

Ralph Johnson, Smokey's longtime accomplice who still lives locally, picks up the story.

"The happiest I ever saw Smokey at Indy was ’69," says Johnson. "Bunky Knudsen ran Ford. He bought a car and sent us to Indy. We had a Gurney Eagle waiting for us. You know, Smokey played ‘poor boy’ most of the time, but he was the best-funded sonofabitch out there racin’. He always spent the company's money. I’m not knocking it. I was proud to be a part of it."

In April, it had taken a few hours for Smokey to come to terms with Joe Leonard on a driving deal. Smokey, in his wild autobiography, said he offered Joe $10,000 and half of the purse, and when Joe suggested Smokey needed him more than he needed Smokey, Smokey hung up the phone on him – but not before saying he would strap a chimp in the cockpit and run the car via remote control. Joe called back and ended up in the car, which was dubbed "The City of Daytona Beach."

They qualified easily and about two-thirds through the race, Joe was running second behind Mario Andretti and begging Smokey to let him pass for the lead and take off.

Smokey, as they all did in those days, communicated with Leonard by using his chalkboard in the pit stall.

"Mario’s gear box was falling apart," recalls Johnson. "You could hear it grinding and clunking coming down the straightaway. Joe wanted to go around him, but Smokey said no. He gave him the board and said no, just sit tight."

At about the three-quarter mark, Mario kicks up the hose clamp left over from Knepper’s wreck and it flies through Leonard’s radiator. Leonard’s car starts smoking. He’s eventually black-flagged and comes to the pits with everyone’s day ruined. Leonard hops from the car, peels off part of his driving uniform and starts giving interviews. But the best part of the story still remained.

Mickey Thompson, the off-road legend and friend of Smokey, was working with the team. While Johnson and another longtime Smokey crewman, Emory Lunsford, are left to wonder what could’ve been, Mickey asks Smokey if he’d be willing to slap on a new radiator if he had one.

"Mickey said, ‘get that radiator out; I’ll get you a new radiator,’ " says Johnson. "Emory and I, we get the nose off the car. Got the hoses, the water is out, boom, the radiator is out. All of a sudden Mickey is standing there and here’s the radiator. But, the brackets it had been attached to are still on the radiator, and they’ve been cut.

"Mickey had gone over to Dan Gurney’s garage – Gurney’s cars were the best cars there – and he had literally cut and pulled the radiator out of Gurney’s spare car. He hadn’t talked to anybody; he broke into Gurney’s garage. Later, Gurney was fit to be tied."

Turns out, the radiator was free and somewhat available, but not a perfect match.

"Nothing would line up," says Johnson. "I remember Smokey said, ‘the nose will hold it on.’ So Emory and I get the nose on, put the zoots in, and now we gotta get Joe and throw him back in the car. He went out there...I don’t remember the finish. It was down there."

Actually, with all that, Leonard still finished a respectable sixth, seven laps down.

"It was very close to being the jackpot," says Johnson. "You know, Andretti should’ve won Indy 12 times, and the one time he did win it, he shouldn’t have."