Junior Johnson, 'The Last American Hero,' dies at 88

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2009, file photo, former NASCAR driver and owner Junior Johnson smiles as he speaks to media about being named to the NASCAR Hall of Fame during a news conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Johnson, who won 50 NASCAR Cup Series races as a driver and 132 as an owner and was part of the inaugural class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, has died at 88. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson has died at 88. His death was announced Friday by NASCAR. Johnson honed his driving skills as a moonshine runner in North Carolina before he began competing in NASCAR.

He won 50 races as a driver and 132 as a car owner. He was also immortalized as “The Last American Hero” by author Tom Wolfe in a 1965 article for Esquire.

Johnson was an inaugural member of NASCAR's Hall of Fame.

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