Shake and Bake NASCAR Blog

How Smokey Yunick saw greatness in a young 'Smoke'

Henry "Smokey" Yunick, one of the most colorful characters in NASCAR history, knew there was something special about Tony Stewart long ago.

Henry "Smokey" Yunick was one of the most colorful characters in NASCAR history and one of the most brilliant minds as well.
 
Yunick opened his "Best Damn Garage In Town" in Daytona Beach in 1947, shortly after he came home from World War II, where he was a decorated B-17 bomber commander and flew in 52 missions across Europe, Africa and the Pacific Theater.
 
When he got into racing, Yunick worked with the best of the best, early heroes of the sport including NASCAR Hall of Fame members Herb Thomas, Fireball Roberts and Curtis Turner.
 
Even in his final years, Yunick still had an eye for talent, as this video clearly shows. Yunick, who died in 2001, saw something special in a young racer just getting started when this interview was filmed. The driver's name was Tony Stewart. Watch and enjoy.