A legend in word and deed has passed: Robert Glen Johnson, Junior, better known as Junior Johnson, one of the greatest drivers in the history of NASCAR–and one of the men who helped make that form of automobile racing the most popular in the world–died on December 20th of this year.
To honor Junior Johnson, who was not only a formidable race car driver but an even more formidable race car owner, we direct you to two pieces on his life. The first is his obituary as published by the New York Times today:
The second tribute is by the late and legendary writer Tom Wolfe, as published in Esquire Magazine, in March of 1965. Titled “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!”, Wolfe’s profile is an iconic piece of journalism, introducing “The New Journalism” style of writing (Wolfe was one of the early evangelists) to a vast, national audience at the same time it brought NASCAR, stock car racing, and the New South to the front of the 1960s cultural conversation. It’s a revolutionary piece of writing that is very worthy of your attention.
Together with the facts from the Times and the scene as described by Tom Wolfe, you will get a true and accurate perspective of one of the most influential men in any sport.
Enjoy, and reflect on a life well-lived at very high speed.
The Fine Print: Image courtesy of Getty Images, who have the photographic history of the 20th and the 21st century on file. This image has not been altered in any way; we thank them for sharing. Special thanks to our friends at Esquire who made Tom Wolfe’s spectacular profile of Junior Johnson available via link. We than them for sharing. donaldpierce.com is a production of The Media Bunker and Perception Engineering. The team wishes you a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year.