Throwback Thursday: Smokey Yunick, From The Person That Knew Him Best

It’s hard to believe, but the end of the week is once again staring us straight in the face. That means it’s time for another Throwback Thursday. This week, I decided to focus on someone that is more than just a legend in the racing world, he was an icon of the Chevrolet brand. That’s why the article, Interview: Smokey Yunick From The Person That Knew Him Best, is in this week’s spotlight.

Smokey Yunick is still considered by many in the racing industry to be one of the most-celebrated mechanics in automotive history. He was also one of the most practical people from the last half of the last century.

Smokey Yunick

Smokey Yunick and Bill France shake hands. Photo from The Official Smokey Yunick website

Yunick personified the rough-and-tumble stockcar culture, partying hard and playing loose. “I’m not proud of what I did back then, but if a woman looked good, we really didn’t abide by the Ten Commandments,” he once said.

When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his daughter, Trish, took over the secretarial duties of compiling his manuscript and transcribing her father’s stories into words. Dutifully, she carried out Smokey’s wishes exactly as he wanted them done. This resulted in the book, “Best Damn Garage in Town: My life and Adventures.” It was originally published as a three-volume boxed set of 1,100 pages with over 400 photographs.

We had A.J. Foyt, the Allisons, the Unsers, the Duntovs, Herb Fischel, Banjo Mathews… these were just his friends, the people that he brought home for dinner.-Trish Yunick

In the original article, we sat down to talk with Smokey’s daughter. In capturing his life story into words during his final days, Trish became one of the people that knew him best. We were interested to talk with her about the man, his thoughts, and his relevance, 13-years after his passing.

smokey Yunick

According to his daughter, he worked a really goofy schedule. He would leave the house before 8:00 in the morning, then come home for dinner at 7:30, pretty much on the dot. He would eat dinner then go back to work and stay ’till 12:30 or 1:00 most nights. Later than that if he was working on a problem of some kind.

“We didn’t really understand what he did over at the shop,” states Trish. “We were never over there, and he never talked about it. When he came back home, he was focused on the next event. He also never talked about his war days, but he did have very elaborate scrapbooks. He took lots and lots of pictures and we put a lot of these photos in his books. He took a lot of pictures and he had them in these scrapbooks, but they were just put away in this closet. It wasn’t something that he discussed or anything.”

There is a lot more interesting and sometimes surprising information in the original article, and you really need to check it out. It gives a perspective about the great mechanic that many may or may not realize. Since there is a lot more entertaining information in the original article, I felt, Interview: Smokey Yunick From The Person That Knew Him Best would be a great article for this week’s Throwback Thursday showcase. Enjoy!

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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