December '18

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12 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 you didn't fire it up and get the smoke away before daylight, somebody would see the smoke. When I went to the still, there was nobody but me there. I got the fire going real good, well, I (thought) I'd fire the burner one more time, then head back to the house. When I reached over to shovel some coke (a type of coal) up and stick it into the burner, I heard some- thing right behind me, and I looked over my shoulder, and there's a guy standing on top of a box just fixin' to jump on my back. So instead of throwing the coke in the burner, I just throwed it, come back around my shoulder, and hit him in the face with it. He was a well-known revenuer there in Wilkesboro, his name was John West." Law enforcement had the place sur- rounded, staked out with about 15 officers in the woods, so even though Junior Johnson: From Moonshine to Racing Pioneer At the 1960 running of the Daytona 500, Junior Johnson discovered something about high-speed and high-banked racing: the draft. "We were out there with a 348-ci truck motor, I was almost ready to come home because my car was so slow," remembers Johnson, who was behind the wheel of a 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne. "I went out to practice and caught a fast Pontiac, I immediately ducked-in behind, sure enough, I could hold on and he couldn't get away from me." The fast Pontiacs had problems and Johnson came from second place drafting to go on and win. He outsmarted the field; it was the biggest race of his driving career. Celebrating winning the 1960 Daytona 500 with mechanic Ray Fox (left) and crew. Little did Junior know that Pepsi-Cola would provide financial support for his team years later. Johnson ran away from West, two others chased him down. "I didn't think anything about doing what my dad said. Today I'd still go do what he'd asked me to do." The judge threw the book at Johnson, caught red-handed, in November 1956, despite a telegram from Bill France of NASCAR, who wrote: "HAV E AS S URAN C E FO R T E S T DRIVING JOB FOR ROBERT JOHNSON, JR. WITH MAJOR AUTOMOBILE FAC- TORY RACING TEAM, EITHER FORD CHEVY OR PONTIAC. COMPENSA- TION SHOULD BE IN EXCESS OF $10,000 PER YEAR PROVIDED HE IS PLACED ON PROBATION. HIS HEAD- QUARTERS WOULD BE EITHER IN ATLANTA, DETROIT OR CALIFORNIA. BILL FRANCE, PRESIDENT NASCAR." The judge wasn't swayed and sentenced Johnson to two years in federal prison in Chillicothe, Ohio. With good behavior Johnson served 11 months and three days. His Ford contract was no longer offered when he was released. "Well, I learned in prison you had to do what was right or you was in trouble all the time. It was a great lesson for me," Johnson recalled. "I never fooled

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