Nascar hall-of-fame driver, team owner Junior Johnson dies at 88

FILE PHOTO: NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Junior Johnson smiles while speaking during the grand opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina May 11, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Junior Johnson, the former moonshiner turned hard-charging race car driver who won 50 NASCAR races before becoming a team owner, has died at the age of 88, NASCAR said on Friday.

“We have lost one of NASCAR’s true pioneers, innovators, competitors and an incredible mechanical and business mind. And personally, I have lost one of my dearest friends,” Winston Kelley, NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director, said in a written statement announcing Johnson’s death.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler

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