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Shannon Vickery interviews Wilkes County native Robert Glenn Johnson, Jr., better known as Junior Johnson in another edition of UNC-TV's unique Biographical Conversations first person documentary series.
He's been called the last American hero. And in many ways, the biography of Junior Jonson is larger than life. Born in Wilkes County in 1931, Johnson burst onto the racing scene 18 years later, finishing second in a preliminary contest at North Wilkesboro. By that time Johnson was a veteran whiskey runner, hauling moonshine across the South on an almost daily basis. After outdriving federal agents on dark and treacherous roads, racing on sanctioned tracks was easy. Johnson scored 50 checkered flags as a driver, including victories at Daytona, Charlotte, and Atlanta, and turned a number 3 Chevrolet into a state treasure. In 1966 he left the driver's seat and became a team owner. He managed some of NASCAR's greatest drivers over three decades, and won three Winston Cup championships. He left NASCAR in 1995, returning to his farm to raise two children with his wife, Lisa. Since then Johnson has launched a legal moonshine business, and a new NASCAR team - with his son Robert behind the wheel. Fearless on and off the track, Johnson is a man devoted to his family, and mindful of his legacy.
"The Biographical Conversations series is an historic video legacy for the people of North Carolina. This series is a great service, providing compelling television programs for today and an invaluable archive for the future," says Shannon Vickery, program host and UNC-TV's Director of Production.
Biographical Conversations is supported by a grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.