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Smokey Yunick

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 36 ROKIT, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. The recent thread on "Best Cheating Stories" brought to mind an outrageous
    picture I recall about this great innovator and "rule stretcher", from a 60's stock car race. It shows Smokey standing by a pit wall, back to the camera,
    one leg up on the wall, casually warming up a can of motor oil for his in-coming car--- with a torch, after lighting a cigarette!! I believe the pic was part of an article of him in HRM, about 1968. (Vaguely recall some pics of his in-famous black and gold Chevelle, as well.)
    Does anyone remember this picture or article and provide additional details
    or the pic itself?? I think the younger set would get a kick out of seeing how
    it was done in the good ole days. Can you imagine the NASCAR safety boys
    reaction to a similar scene today??
  2. FormerFueler
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
    Posts: 410


    I remember reading an aricle on this car. There were quie a few tricks Smokey incorporated such as a small spoiler built into the roof,7/8 scale,body offset on frame a well as lowered to create a sort of belly pan effect. Seems I also remember some mention of the car having quite a bit of vey large fuel line to increase the fuel capacity.

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  3. Smokey was cool! "If the rule book don't say I can't do it, it's legal." or something like that. What an innovator and a true genius in his field.
  4. 396skip
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 684

    from MN

    I got a bunch of stuff at last garage sale,even have a couple doors that were acid dipped,light as a feather.....

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  5. deuceman32
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 340


    My favorite Smokey quote: "No, we don't cheat. We work on stuff a lot, though. Matter a fact, when the inspector's lookin at the front of the car, we work on the back. And if he's lookin' at the back, why, we're workin' on the front!"
  6. did someone purchase the crushed up No.13 '64 Chevelle that used to sit in front of his shop?
  7. Del Clark
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 628

    Del Clark
    from DeLand,FL

    His shop was about 25 miles from my house. Sad to see it get tore down for condos.
  8. VonMoldy
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,555

    from UTARRGH!

    This guy rules. The Chevelle is not only beautiful but genius.
  9. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    from Colorado

    The secret fuel tank story has taken on a life of it's own and will never die, but Smokey called it B.S.

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  10. leon renaud
    Joined: Nov 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,935

    leon renaud
    from N.E. Ct.

    There was a lot of "smoothing" under that Chevelle the front A frames were plated on the bottom "for strength" the floors were flush with the bottom of the frame and the car had a 3 inch fuel line from tank to carb!I believe Smokey said the fuel line alone held an additional 5 gallons of gas!NASCAR rules were "no belly pans" and specified the MINIMUM fuel line requirement but no MAXIMUM.Smokey claims he never cheated but did work the "gray areas" of the rule book alot.When they banned grinding on ports he pumped lapping compound in oil under pressure through the intake and exhauist ports,when they outlawed that he poured a clear epoxy through the ports to "seal "them but did no "material removal".All this info came from a magazine interview with him years after the fact.He also used would draw attention away from "gray areas"by drawing attention to something else like covering the right front suspension if the questionalable modification was made to the left rear (just my sample)the tech guys would get so caught up in "whats he hiding here " that they wouldn't check the rear.Petty did this with his Vynal top on one of his cars the other teams and tech inspectors were so involved in how/why that top would help the car they never noticed the top had been chopped 2 inches!
  11. Soooooooooo, does anyone have info. relevant to the original question????
  12. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 801

    from kansas

  13. And the winner is---BUFFALORACER! That's the one, taken from a different angle, before or after he lit the cig.
    I had always assumed this was taken during a practice session, or MAYBE qualifying; but damn, it looks like from this shot, it could have been during an actual long distance race. (Hence, the TWO qts. of oil to warm up)
    MANY THANKS!! (Good article, too)
  14. A lot of what he did was just to rattle people and often just for his pleasure of pulling one over on them. He was the master at getting everyone's attention on something that was 110% legit while doing a sleight of hand elsewhere that everyone missed.

  15. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,982


    Yunick's cars were competitive through the 1950's, and he won the Indy 500 around 1960.Then some wins with Fireball Roberts. But after that,I believe he didn't win much or at all. If you cheat more than the other guys and don't win,what's the point?

  16. He said in his book that years later he sold it, and Fireballs' crushed Pontiac to the scrap dealer, and went on to say that he should have kept them since they'd be worth a ton of money now (2001)

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  17. wally bell
    Joined: Apr 15, 2008
    Posts: 418

    wally bell
    from VA.

    Smokey was a genius. Period!

  18. I sure agree with that 100%. If you've never read his book you owe it to yourself to get it. His WWII exploits alone are enough to leave you in stitches. And later, his interpretation of NASCAR rules is one of the reasons the rule book is so big now, because it "Didn't say you couldn't.
    His innovations in carburetion, sparkplugs, oil and air filters, cylinder flow and safety, speak for themselves.
    Later, Phil
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,349

    from New york

    His book is looooong {'bout 1000 pages or more} but absolutely a must read
  20. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    I loved the story of the 10 bolt cover on a 9" housing.

  21. Yeah, you can tell it was written over a long period of time and he kind of repeats himself a few times in going over material, but it's a great read. Any car nut or fan of American automotive history would be amazed at the people he worked with or crossed paths with along the way. That kinda rings true with his WWII experience too.
  22. TMcCrea
    Joined: Aug 13, 2008
    Posts: 578

    from Maryland

    What Wally said!

    The best bench racing I ever participated in was listening to Smokey tell stories. I could listen to him all day.

    One thing he did that I missed was the tribute to the guys that designed and built the small block Chevy which was held at the PRI show. I bought the video have wished I had taken the time to attend ever since.

  23. I don't really think he cheated more. I think he got the most publicity for it. Back then the standard loose rule was " go in with ten things wrong, tech inspection finds five things, you still have five things you wanted". From there it was a matter of distraction from the more beneficial things than the least.

    A lot of NASCAR races were won with 1-3 cars wayyyy ahead of anybody else, yet Smokey wasn't in that hunt most of the time in the late 60's. There are a lot of very good reasons for that I'm sure.

    Yes, still he was a genius.
  24. Here's Smokey's sign as it looks hanging in Floyd Garrett's Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville, TN.


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  25. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim

    Smokey was a great guy , driver and builder . If the rules didn't say it exactly he would do it ! He found more ways of doing something and when he was caught , they would add that rule to the book so he couldn't do it again . They still find hidden things in his cars that no one knew about .
  26. Sauli
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 499


    So what´s the title of it, and where can it be found?
  27. choppintops
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,460


    Dead on.
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,349

    from New york

  29. You can also get them direct from his daughters' (Trish) store in Daytona. She also sells a full line of other stuff, tapes, shirts, posters, etc.


    Grew up on a farm in Neshaminy, Pennsylvania

    Flew B-17s for the Army Air Force in WWII

    Flew for the Flying Tigers

    Driver, mechanic, crew chief for stock cars in 1950s and 1960s

    Won two Grand National (Winston Cup today) Championships

    Won Indy in 1960

    Worked in Ecuador for 30 years in oil drilling and gold mining

    Wrote for Popular Science and Circle Track magazines


    Founding Member and Director of Embry-Riddle University

    Honorary Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering, Embry-Riddle Engineering

    Professor Emeritus, Daytona Beach Community College

    S.C.O.R.E Judge, for three years, one of ten judges picked to
    examine annual alternate energy expo submissions from Amercian
    colleges and universities, related to alternate energy

    Member of Society of Automotive Engineers

    Patents & Inventions

    Variable Ratio Power Steering

    Hot Vapor Engine

    Silent Tire

    Smoketron Engine Testing Device

    Movable Race Track Crash Barrier

    Oil filling through oil filter

    Extended Tip Spark Plug

    Power brakes from residual power steering pressure

    Water bypass system for “V” engines

    Reverse cooling system

    Centrifuge Type Oil Refinery (Ecuador)


    Two Time NASCAR Mechanic of the Year

    Mechanical Achievements Awards – Indianapolis Motor Speedway &
    Ontario Motor Speedway

    Engineering Award – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

    Inventor of the Year – 1983

    Presents the Annual Smokey Yunick Lifetime Achievement Award
    at Charlotte Motor Speedway

    Hall of Fame Inductions

    National Racing Hall of Fame

    International MotorSports Hall of Fame

    Legends of Auto Racing Hall of Fame

    Stock Car Racing, Daytona Hall of Fame

    Darlington Motor Speedway Hall of Fame

    Legends of Performance – Chevrolet Hall of Fame

    TRW Mechanic Hall of Fame

    Living Legends of Auto Racing – 1997

    Stock Car Racing Magazine Hall of Fame

    Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame

    Voted #7 on list of Top 10 athletes of the Century
    by Winston Salem Journal, Oct. 1999

    University of Central Florida, President’s Medallion Society

    Rotary Club of Oceanside – Daytona Beach

    Race Record

    1951-1954 – 39 Grand National Wins after 1954

    won Raleigh - August 20, 1955

    won Darlington - 1955

    won Palm Beach - December 11, 1955

    won Wilson, N.C. - March 18, 1956

    won Langhorne - September 23, 1956

    won Greensboro - April 28, 1957

    won Lancaster S.C. - June 1, 1957

    won Raleigh - July 4, 1957

    won Daytona Beach - February, 1958

    won Atlanta - July 4, 1959

    won Daytona Beach - February 12, 1960

    won Atlanta - July 31, 1960

    won Daytona Beach - February 24, 1961

    won Daytona Beach - February 26, 1961

    won Daytona Beach - February 10, 1962

    won Daytona Beach - February 16, 1962

    won Daytona Beach - February 18, 1962

    won Daytona Beach - February 22, 1963

    39 + 18 = 57 Stock Car/Grand National races
    one Indy race win -
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  30. Just read his self-published biography. I must say the three books are some of the most profane, funny, irreverant commentaries I've ever read on the sport. What a mind that guy had, and you talk about paying the price for what he did. A highly, highly recommended read. He is very unappreciated for what he did.

    Richmond, VA

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