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Parity wasn't Junior Johnson's philosophy

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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Tim from Little Rock, Ark.: It was great to see Junior Johnson on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. How does a legendary race car driver and successful owner like Johnson view all the rules a team and driver have to follow now vs. when he was so successful? Darrell Waltrip: Tim, Junior was an innovator. I coined the phrase that he wasn't a rulebreaker, he was a rulemaker. Junior would look at the rules and the competition, and he would always try to be a step ahead of everybody else. Back in the '70's and '80's, that's what racing was all about. You got an advantage, and you won races. As long as you could keep that advantage — whether it was a body style or something else — more power to you.
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It might be a Buick that we won a lot with or it might be Bill Elliott's Thunderbird that he won a lot with. You may have a little something going that nobody else does. But NASCAR didn't take it away from you then. I can't tell you how many times I went to NASCAR's truck, complained about something, and they said, "If you think so-and-so's car is so great, build one like it. Or if you think he's got something that you don't have, why don't you go get it?" That was NASCAR's attitude, but there wasn't a lot of parity. There was a lot of competition, and the competition was who could be the best and who could think of the most innovative things to do to make your car better than everybody else. With all the parity and rules making everything the same, Junior would have a tough time surviving in today's NASCAR environment. Parity isn't Junior's philosophy and wouldn't fit Junior's personality one iota. But if he decided to get back in the sport, batten down the hatches.

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