Henry "Smokey" Yunick, one of the pioneers in the early years of stock car racing, passed away in the early morning Wednesday, May 9 in Daytona Beach. Yunick had leukemia and was 77. Yunick was a legend in both stock car and open wheel racing.
Henry "Smokey" Yunick, one of the pioneers in the early years of stock car racing, passed away in the early morning Wednesday, May 9 in Daytona Beach. Yunick had leukemia and was 77.
Yunick was a legend in both stock car and open wheel racing. Some of his accomplishments include induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and winning the NASCAR Mechanic of the Year award twice.
1961 was Yunick's most successful year as a car owner - eight victories, nine poles and 22 top five finishes.
In 1960, Yunick was Jim Rathmann's crew chief and the Indy 500 win was a highlight of his career.
Yunick was the last owner to win on the beach at Daytona in 1958.
As an inventor, Yunick received credit and awards for inventing the hot vapor engine and power steering.
A native of Neshaminy, Pa., Yunick entered the United States Army Air Corps serving in World War II. He was a member of the Flying Tigers.
After the war, Yunick built what he called "The Best Damn Garage in Town". It was at that shop that he worked with Chevrolet to develop the small-block engine.
His distinctive style at the track - a old, corn pipe, white overalls and cowboy hat - made his a crowd favorite.
Yunick was survived by his wife, Margie; three sons, Smokey Jr. of Holly Hill; Sam of Jacksonville, and Steve of Ormond Beach; daughter Trish of Daytona Beach; his sister, Renee Walker of Rockwell, Texas; and nine grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at the Ormond Funeral Home, 733 West Granada Boulevard, Ormond Beach on Saturday.
Donations may be made to the Stewart-Marchman Treatment Center in Daytona.
In Memory of Smokey - a genius, an inventor, a mechanic and a winner - a man who will always be remembered for giving his best and his heart to auto racing.
Our sincere condolences - Motorsport.com