Henry “Smokey” Yunick was an American race car mechanic, designer and innovator. With a legendary past, and being known as a bit of a cowboy, fans shared tall tales of his exploits years after he retired. He would push the envelope of racing from the time he entered the sport of racing until he passed away in 2001. From rumors of scaling cars down for competition in his small shop in Florida, called the “Best Damn Garage in Town”, to using longer fuel lines to carry extra fuel to the engine, Smokey was always up to something that would push the envelope of design and ingenuity, driving tech inspection teams crazy. The rule book was more for finding what wasn’t in the rules than what was, and he felt he would always find a way to work that to his team’s advantage.
Smokey would not only race on all different levels and divisions but he would represent the big three automakers across many different platforms, pushing himself and his drivers to be the best.
To many, Yunick was rough around the edges and unpolished in his candor, but he was thoroughly respected all over the country for his ability to solve tough problems with simple answers, even though he considered himself a student of the sport.
For many in auto racing, Smokey Yunick changed the game and pushed other teams to work harder and think outside the box. To call him a pioneer of innovation or an instigator for the time doesn’t come close to summing up his talents as a racer, car builder, engine builder and visionary for the future of the sport.