By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
An official cause of death is not known at this time. According to NASCAR.com, Johnson went into hospice care earlier this week.
“Junior Johnson truly was the ‘Last American Hero,’” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement. “From his early days running moonshine through the end of his life, Junior wholly embodied the NASCAR spirit. He was an inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer, a nod to an extraordinary career as both a driver and team owner. Between his on-track accomplishments and his introduction of Winston to the sport, few have contributed to the success of NASCAR as Junior has.
“The entire NASCAR family is saddened by the loss of a true giant of our sport, and we offer our deepest condolences to Junior’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
He was born Robert Glenn Johnson Jr. However, at a young age, he received the nickname “Junior.”
Johnson was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. In his racing career, he won 50 NASCAR races before his retirement in 1966.
Following his retirement from the sport, he remained involved as a NASCAR team owner. Before his death, he made a living from producing fried pork skins and country ham.
In 2007, he partnered with Piedmont Distillers in North Carolina to make a product called “Midnight Moon Moonshine.” This product is still available today.
He was born into a family that was involved in moonshine. His father and grandfather were involved in moonshine.
His father even went to prison for 20 years because of being a bootlegger. His family was also part of the largest moonshine raid in US history, where the authorities found 400 gallons of moonshine.
Like his father, Johnson previously spent time in prison. He spent one year behind bars in his early years for having an illegal still.
Yet, he was never caught making moonshine or transporting it. On December 26, 1986, he received a Presidential Pardon from former President Ronald Reagan for his 1956 moonshine conviction.
Johnson was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
The legend even has a road named after him. In 2004, North Carolina officials dedicated part of US Highway 421 the “Junior Johnson Highway.”