Junior Johnson, moonshiner turned NASCAR legend, dies at 88

first_imgJunior Johnson, a stock-car racing giant whose career spanned the sport’s history from its moonshining roots to its modern era as a fierce, hard-nosed driver and an innovative mechanic and team owner, has died. He was 88.Johnson’s passing was confirmed by the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He had been in declining health and entered hospice care earlier this week. His wife, Lisa, told The New York Times that Johnson had Alzheimer’s disease.Johnson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its inaugural Class of 2010. He won 50 races in NASCAR’s top division — the most of any driver without a championship — and added 132 victories and six championships as a successful team owner for many legends of the sport. Johnson won the second running of the Daytona 500 in 1960, then added two more triumphs in the Great American Race as a car owner in 1969 and ’77.His all-out style — honed from years of hauling illegal liquor at breakneck speeds through the North Carolina foothills — took a toll on his competitors and his own equipment, earning him a reputation as the hardest of the hard chargers. Johnson was also known as the Wilkes County Wildman and heralded as “The Last American Hero,” after a brilliant 1965 essay in Esquire by author Tom Wolfe.“Junior Johnson truly was the ‘Last American Hero,’ ” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement. “From his early days running moonshine through the end of his life, Junior wholly embodied the NASCAR spirit. He was an inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer, a nod to an extraordinary career as both a driver and team owner. Between his on-track accomplishments and his introduction of Winston to the sport, few have contributed to the success of NASCAR as Junior has. The entire NASCAR family is saddened by the loss of a true giant of our sport, and we offer our deepest condolences to Junior’s family and friends during this difficult time.”RELATED: NASCAR community mourns loss of Junior JohnsonBorn Robert Glenn Johnson Jr. in 1931, he became known simply as “Junior” as the fourth of seven children. His North Carolina home was the small community of Ronda, not far from Ingle Hollow, just a short drive from the North Wilkesboro Speedway, one of NASCAR’s charter tracks.RacingOneFarming was a staple of the Johnson household, but so was the manufacture and high-speed transport of untaxed whiskey. Junior Johnson quickly became involved in both family businesses, sharpening his skills as a driver with his fearlessness in distributing liquor in hopped-up cars.“The good whiskey runners were kind of cocky about it, like good race drivers,” Johnson told the Associated Press in 1991. “I guess I was pretty cocky.”Legend has it that Johnson was never caught on the road. He was convicted of moonshining in 1956 after authorities staked out the family still. President Ronald Reagan pardoned him on Dec. 26, 1986. “No maybe about it. Best Christmas gift I ever got,” Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2007. Johnson now sells moonshine legally under the Midnight Moon label.RELATED: Junior Johnson’s life in photosJohnson’s earliest aspirations were first aimed at a different professional sport, but an accident cut those dreams short. “I’d probably have been a baseball pitcher if I hadn’t broken my arm when I was 14,” Johnson told the AP. “I broke it turning a farm tractor over on it, acting a fool.”Johnson’s first stock-car event came by chance, according to North Wilkesboro Speedway founder Enoch Staley. At his brother’s encouragement, Johnson temporarily put his plow aside and threw on some shoes to compete at his home track, which was then dirt. “We had scheduled a modified race, but didn’t have enough cars to complete the field,” Staley told the Associated Press in 1965. “So we invited the Wilkes County fans out of the stands to enter passenger cars and Junior ran in a 1939 Ford. That’s how he got his start.”Johnson’s first appearance in NASCAR’s top division was on an even bigger stage, in the 1953 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He finished 38th in the 59-car field, but gave the garage an early glimpse at his toughness. After his No. 75 Oldsmobile pirouetted off a guard rail, Johnson exited his crumpled car unharmed but noticed that the engine was on fire. Johnson quickly opened the hood, removed his shirt and batted out the flames himself.RacingOneBy the time Johnson made a full-fledged go at stock-car racing, he quickly established himself as a winner. He prevailed for the first time at Hickory Speedway on May 7, 1955, adding four more victories by the end of his rookie season.“I was crazy, I think,” Johnson told NASCAR Productions in 2015. “I’ve never been scared in a race car, any other kind of car, because I thought I was a good enough driver to handle it. And I was.”Johnson’s legend as a fierce competitor grew in the late 1950s into the ’60s, taking a major leap with his Daytona 500 triumph in 1960. “I’ve driven in a lot of races, but this is my first big victory,” Johnson told reporters after leading 67 of 200 laps and beating Bobby Johns for the win.The significance of that win took on extra meaning with a discovery that is now superspeedway canon. During preliminary events at Daytona International Speedway, Johnson learned how to use the aerodynamic push and pull created by the air at high speeds. The technique of “drafting” was born, a tactic that Johnson initially kept to himself, later using it to help his year-old Chevrolet compete against the favored Pontiacs.Johnson stayed tucked firmly behind Johns in the late going of that Daytona 500, the aero pull becoming so forceful that it popped the rear window from Johns’ car. Johns lost control on the backstretch, allowing Johnson to pull away and lead the final nine laps.“Heck, his whole car came up off the ground, spun around and went down to the infield and I went on and won the race,” Johnson told Speed TV years later. “Everybody knew then by about the time the race was over with what I had done all day long was just drafted people, and that’s how I got to where I was at.”Johnson accumulated wins for eight straight seasons into the 1960s, but never finished higher than sixth in the premier series standings, running only partial seasons throughout his career. His best season in terms of visits to Victory Lane came in his final campaign in 1965, when he won 13 of his 36 starts, including his final win as a driver at North Wilkesboro that October.That same year, Johnson’s impact was chronicled in Wolfe’s groundbreaking article, “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” The profile, a prime example of Wolfe’s brand of “new journalism,” introduced the country to Johnson’s stature as an everyman icon in his native Wilkes County and a “lead-footed chicken farmer” while capturing America’s growing love affair with the automobile. Wolfe colorfully heralded Johnson as “one of the last of those sports stars who is not just an ace at the game itself, but a hero a whole people or class of people can identify with.”Rusty Jarrett | Getty ImagesNearly five and a half decades later, the article remains an iconic piece of sports journalism. Johnson and Wolfe were reunited in New York in 2015 for a short film produced by NASCAR Productions. Wolfe died May 14, 2018, also at age 88.“I didn’t think that he would write the story that he wrote, but I thought it was an awesome story,” Johnson said. “Things change, people change, but you don’t want to ever forget how you were brought up. You’ll remember it as long as you live. That article did that.”Even as his prominence grew, Johnson contemplated a transition from his driving days to team ownership. He entered just seven races in 1966, but began fielding cars that year for a host of young drivers, including an up-and-coming prospect named Bobby Isaac.He was 35 at the time of his final race behind the wheel, ending his driving career while still in his prime.“Racing has been good to me,” Johnson told the AP in November 1965 as his driving days wound down. “I want to make it clear that I am not quitting because I am too old to drive or am afraid of high-speed racing. I have accomplished about everything I had hoped to as a driver. Now I want to relax and enjoy life, but still be connected with the sport in a supervisory capacity.”His ties to the sport endured for three more decades as a team owner, fielding cars for a host of future NASCAR Hall of Famers. Johnson’s plan for relaxation never quite hit its mark, though, as he remained heavily involved in running his team, even wielding a jack over the wall for pit-stop duty.Cale Yarborough scored three consecutive championships from 1976-78 in Johnson’s familiar No. 11, winning 45 races over an especially prolific seven seasons together. When Yarborough opted to shift to a part-time racing schedule after the 1980 season, Johnson hired Darrell Waltrip and promptly won three more titles (1981, ’82, ’85) and 43 more races with the No. 11 in a six-season span.RacingOneTerry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine and Bill Elliott also won in Johnson’s cars. His last victory came in September 1994, with Elliott winning the famed Southern 500 at Darlington over Dale Earnhardt. Johnson sold his operations to Brett Bodine at the end of the next season.Johnson’s contributions to the sport lasted beyond his ownership days. NASCAR’s top tour continued as the Winston Cup Series until 2003, a long-running entitlement sponsorship deal that Johnson helped broker in the early 1970s.R.J. Reynolds, faced with a ban on television advertising in 1971, needed a new outlet for its marketing dollars. Johnson, whose shops were based 45 miles away from RJR’s Winston-Salem headquarters, came calling but soon realized that its sponsorship reach was much greater than simply investing in a team.“They told me they had millions of dollars to spend,” Johnson told Steve Waid for a 2016 article in Popular Speed. “Now, I wanted some of that. But it occurred to me that if I made a counter proposal, it could benefit NASCAR and everyone in racing — including me.” The business connection that followed ushered in a great period of growth in NASCAR, giving stock-car racing a healthy points fund and a greater foothold that expanded outside its Southern roots.Johnson was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its first class in 2010, joining Bill France Sr. and Jr., Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty as the inaugural inductees. He remained involved with the NASCAR Hall for years afterward and contributed an operational moonshine still as an exhibit for the museum’s Heritage Speedway section.He was presented for induction by his son, Robert, on a night of stories about Johnson’s decades-long dedication to stock-car racing.“We have lost one of NASCAR’s true pioneers, innovators, competitors and an incredible mechanical and business mind. And personally, I have lost one of my dearest friends,” said Winston Kelley, the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s executive director. :While we will miss Junior mightily, his legacy and memory will forever be remembered, preserved, celebrated and cherished at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and in the hearts and minds of race fans around the world. Please join us in remembering and celebrating Robert Glenn Johnson Jr.” Junior Johnson’s full NASCAR Hall of Fame induction speech00:0000:0000:00GO LIVEFacebookTwitterEmailEmbedSpeedNormalAutoplaylast_img read more

Tracy Chapman Talks “Bout A Revolution” On ‘Seth Meyers’ [Watch]

first_imgTracy Chapman appeared virtually on Late Night with Seth Meyers Monday night for a rare television performance. The multi-Grammy award winner dug deep into her catalog, reaching all the way back to her 1988 self-titled album with a take on “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution.”Related: Dave Matthews Performs “Mercy” For HeadCount On ‘Seth Meyers’ [Watch]While TV performances for Chapman are quite rare, the singer-songwriter has been an outspoken social and political activist for her entire career. As the intimate performance in front of a black curtain came to a close, Chapman altered the words to the song’s final verse—”Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, oh no/Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, oh no/Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, go vote”—before stepping away from the microphone and revealing a “vote” sign.According to Pitchfork, Chapman shared a statement ahead of her performance, saying, “This is the most important election of our lifetime. It is imperative that everyone vote to restore our democracy.”Meyers added a statement of his own, saying, “I’ve always thought Tracy Chapman’s music skips your ears and goes straight to your heart. I’m so honored and excited to have her on the show. She’s living proof you can be a great artist while also speaking out for what you believe in.”Though Chapman has a fair share of politically-focused songs in her repertoire, the choice for this occasion was fitting. “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” is not only one of her most popular tracks, but its lyrics accurately conveyed Chapman’s message to the country just one day ahead of the United States 2020 election.Watch the hair-raising performance below and head to Seth Meyers’ YouTube page for more clips of his nightly performances.Tracy Chapman – “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” – Late Night with Seth Meyers[Video: Late Night with Seth Meyers]last_img read more

Boy’s Autism Unlocked By Singing

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore David Militello, 8, says music, especially singing the National Anthem, helps to unlock his mind from the grip of Asperger’s, a milder form of autism. (Read full text at CBSNews , or watch the video report below, w/ 30-second ad) last_img

Economic Good News: Exports Hit Record High, Hiring and Retail Sales Up

first_imgU.S. companies are hiring. In March, job openings rose by 99,000 to 3.1 million, the Labor Department said — the most since September 2008 and the second straight monthly increase. The number rose 14 percent since January with businesses adding more than 200,000 jobs each month from February to April, the best three-month showing in five years. (AP News)Retail Sales up for 10th Straight Month –Sales at U.S. retailers increased for the 10th straight month in April. Compared with April 2010, sales are up 7.6%. (Market Watch)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreUS exports hit a record high in March, returning to levels not seen since before the global financial crisis.US exports grew 4.6% in March to USD 172.7 billion, surpassing the record set in July 2008 before world trade took a sharp downturn. The March export rise was the biggest month-to-month gain in 17 years, the Commerce Department said in a report on Wednesday. (MoneyControl)Jobs Continue to Increaselast_img read more

Holiday Lesson Proves You Can’t Judge a Caroler by His Hoodie (WATCH)

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThese men may look out of place in the snuggly suburbs, but the reason they are going door to door is universal.In this video, suburbanites hesitantly open their doors to five “brothers bringing the hood to the burbs” — only to be charmed by the men’s true motives.NEED DAILY GOOD NEWS? GET OUT NEW APP—>  Download FREE for Android and iOSIt’s a great lesson about not judging others by their skin color–or clothes.Watching this will do your heart some good if you aren’t yet in the spirit of the holiday season.(Video below is from Mabe in America) — Images: Mabe in America Pass This Lesson On To Your Neighbors… Share it.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

HEALTHY LIVING — As we age, life becomes a numbers game

first_imgThis week’s column is dedicated to the senior crowd, those of us who have reached the summit of the mountain of life. Have you noticed that the older we get, the more paperwork there is to complete? Even if you are computer literate, there are a lot of forms to get us what we need, as far as insurance and medications.And numbers, all of a sudden, are very important to our doctors. They want blood work every few months to keep tabs on these numbers. And if you are having some issues with blood sugar, you get to test it at home to get those numbers anywhere from 2 to 7 times a week.Let’s take a look at some of these numbers and find out what they are and where they should be. First, ALWAYS check with your doctor. Not everyone has the same normal. Not all doctors adhere to standardized charts for those important numbers. Depending what medications you are on, your numbers could vary greatly. Blood Pressure (BP) — Your doctor may want you to monitor this at home a couple of times a week, his staff will certainly take your reading at each office visit. It’s expressed as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic), like a fraction. For example: 120/80 mm Hg. The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. This is called diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult. No medications are necessary for slightly elevated blood pressure. But this is when you should adopt healthier lifestyle choices. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure to a healthy range and help prevent elevated blood pressure from developing into full-fledged hypertension. Any readings above or below should be brought to your doctor’s attention.A1C — Tests measure average blood glucose over the past two to three months. So even if you have a high fasting blood sugar, your overall blood sugar may be normal, or vice versa. A level of 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. People with diabetes have an A1C level of 6.5 percent or above. If you’re in the early stages of diabetes, small changes in lifestyle can make a big difference and even put your diabetes in remission. Losing a few pounds or starting an exercise program can help. For those who have had prediabetes or diabetes for a long time, higher A1C results may be a sign that you need to start on medication or change what you’re already taking. You may also need to make other lifestyle changes and monitor your daily blood glucose more closely.Blood Sugar/Finger Pricks — People who are monitoring or managing their diabetes prick their finger using a glucometer for daily testing. The most common monitoring is done fasting, before breakfast and should range under 70-99mg/dl, with no diabetes. Diabetics should range between 80/130 mg/dl. Or, test 2 hours after eating and range should be under 140 mg/dl for non-diabetics and under 180 mg/dl for diagnosed diabetics. There are variables depending on age, personal history, complications, and overall health. LDL/HDL Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels — Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by your body and found in certain foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, but having too much (high cholesterol) puts you at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. The extra cholesterol that isn’t used by your body builds up in blood vessel walls, causing blockages. Good levels are less than 200: HDL at 40 or higher, LDL less than 100, and Triglycerides less than 149. Many times, unless genetics are involved, simple changes in diet and adding regular exercise can bring elevated levels down to normal levels.That is just a brief list and explanation of the most common numbers you may be monitored for. In coming weeks, we will explore each one a little more in depth.center_img In the meantime, let’s all pay a little more attention to what we are fueling our bodies with and get out there and move a little bit more. Stay healthy, my friends.Jody Holton writes about healthy living for The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more

Melissa Barrera & Leslie Grace Join In the Heights Film

first_imgMelissa Barrera & Leslie Grace(Photos: Getty Images) ¡Alabanza! Strong-voiced young stars Melissa Barrera and Leslie Grace have been cast in the upcoming screen adaptation of the Tony-winning musical In the Heights. They will take on the roles of Vanessa and Nina, respectively, in the film, which is slated to premiere on June 26, 2020.Barrera is most known for her turns in the telenovelas Siempre Tuya Acapulco and Tanto Amor. She was also seen on-screen in the Mexican reality show La Academia.Grace is a singer-songwriter acclaimed for her mainstream debut, a bilingual cover of the Shirelles hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” She most recently released “Lo Siento,” a collaboration with Super Junior.The In the Heights film cast will also include the previously announced Anthony Ramos as Usnavi and Tony nominee Corey Hawkins as Benny. Jon M. Chu is the film’s director.Featuring a screenplay adapted by Tony-nommed book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and the Tony-winning score of Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights follows Washington Heights bodega owner Usnavi (Ramos) and the trials and celebrations of the neighborhood of friends who surround him.The roles of Vanessa and Nina were originated on Broadway by future Tony winner Karen Olivo (soon to star in Moulin Rouge! The Musical) and Mandy Gonzalez, current star of Miranda’s Hamilton.Oh, and we’ve BEEN rehearsing…#InTheHeightsMovie pic.twitter.com/ogA0QzWdKs— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 11, 2019 View Commentslast_img read more

Three schools selected to represent Vermont at regional conference on high school innovation

first_imgThe New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The Consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education that prepares them for success in the colleges, careers, and communities of the 21st century. Big Picture South Burlington created a set of proficiency-based graduation requirements that help teachers personalize instruction and make sure all students acquire the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed in adult life. At the school, students pursue an individualized course of study that is built around their interests and aspirations, and that incorporate internships, college-level courses, independent projects, workshops, travel, and volunteerism. New England Secondary School Consortium. 319.2012. ‘These three schools represent what is best about Vermont education and the work of the Consortium,’ said Armando Vilaseca, commissioner of education. ‘The personalization of learning experiences for students, which makes their education more relevant and expansive, is a key factor in educational innovation and the success of these school. I am also proud that Cabot, Essex, and South Burlington will have a chance to present to their peers from across New England’it’s an exceptional opportunity for our school leaders and teachers.’ The conference, High School Redesign in Action (newenglandssc.org/conference), will take place March 22’23, 2012, in Norwood, Massachusetts. It is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium, a regional partnership committed to high school innovation, in collaboration with the departments of education for Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. All the selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers, or other indicators of educational success. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (nmefoundation.org), the largest philanthropy in New England focused exclusively on education, and it is coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership (greatschoolspartnership.org), a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has committed more than $2 million to support the Consortium, which includes $1 million in partnership grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.center_img As part of its transformation process, Essex High School made a commitment to supporting students, personalizing learning, and developing ‘multiple learning pathways’‘that is, creating more diverse learning experiences both inside and outside the school walls. To help the school achieve its goals, Essex also created two ‘schools within a school’‘one focused on the visual and performing arts and the other on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics’to engage student interests and aspirations through strategies such as senior projects and career internships. All three presenting schools are also members of the Consortium’s League of Innovative Schools, a multistate network of secondary schools working together to improve their programs and performance.In Vermont, the League comprises 11 secondary schools from across the state, and their work is supported by grants from the Vermont Department of Education. The League’s goal is to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative improvement strategies among schools region. Cabot School has created a project-based teaching and learning model in grades 7’12 that allows multiage groups to investigate problems through long-term research, Socratic-style seminars, hands-on discovery, the arts, and community connections’many of which take advantage of local resources, opportunities, and experts to make learning come alive. Students also present their projects and what they’ve learned to teachers, parents, and community members. Three Vermont public schools’Cabot School, Essex High School, and South Burlington High School’have been invited to represent their state at a regional conference on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the 21st century.last_img read more

Can you buy “like” at your credit union?

first_imgIn today’s Facebook world, everyone wants consumers to “like” their credit union or bank on Facebook. After all, you often judge your social media success and ROI by the number of members or customers who “like” you on Facebook. So can you buy “like” at your credit union or bank? Hardly.At least that is the premise behind the book Can’t Buy Me Like by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy. The book hits on a major social media theme today: building authentic customer connections. It’s not about your messages on social media; it’s about authenticity and connections. If you want to improve your financial institution’s social media efforts, then reading Can’t Buy Me Like will give you several ideas how to do so.Below are some quotes from the book and how we can apply them.(1) “Simple truth: if you are still selling goods and services by blanketing the world with advertising…you are doing things all wrong.”Ouch. That puts things pretty bluntly. The authors argue that traditional advertising has gone the way of the Betamax and Yugoslavia. We have to change our marketing efforts because they believe we are in a digital revolution and now living in a relationship era. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

The Third Metric for Success

first_imgThe Huffington Post: I just returned from NYC from an invitation only conference on the third metric for success: beyond money and power, hosted by Arianna Huffington. I’m not one for mindless flattery, so it is with great sincerity that I say that Arianna is a force to be reckoned with. She’s extremely bright and incredibly effective so perhaps it’s no surprise that the event was so successful. For me, however, the event cut both ways.It’s been forever since I attended a conference without being a speaker. This was even more unusual since the event was really a conference on the importance of being mindful. Not being acknowledged by speaker after speaker was a blow to my ego. At times I felt like saying, maybe shouting, “yes, yes, I couldn’t agree more since I’ve been studying this since the 1970’s and making all the recommendations that were being presented as new.”Read the whole story: The Huffington Post More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more