Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Longtime and popular NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey dies at age 90

    Longtime NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey, who fielded cars for dozens of NASCAR stars at some point in their respective careers, died Monday, according to family friends. He was 90. 

   A member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Donlavey fielded his No. 90 cars for scores of drivers including Joe Weatherly, Tiny Lund, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Dick Brooks, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson, Johnny Rutherford, Harry Gant, Buddy Baker, Charlie Glotzbach, Ken Schrader, Jody Ridley, Bill Dennis and Ricky Rudd.

   “Life has really been fast, I can tell you, but it’s been pleasant,” said Donlavey following the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  “I didn’t regret a minute of it even though we ran against heavy-backed teams.  We still had fun!”

   Donlavey began fielding his team in 1950. He drove for his team at first, but soon gave way to other drivers. He earned a reputation as working well with young drivers over his tenure. Donlavey  was a Navy veteran and son after his stint in the Navy started his own auto repair business which fostered into his interest in racing. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007. 

   Funeral plans are incomplete as of Monday morning.

   Donlavey was a Spirit of Ford Award Winner for his contributions to motorsports and fielded Ford vehicles from 1961 until his retirement in 2004.
   “All of us at Ford Motor Company mourn the passing of Junie Donlavey and we send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Junie was a true gentleman whose legacy won't be measured in wins on the track," said Edsel Ford, member of the Board of Directors at Ford Motor Co.  

   "His legacy will be the hundreds of drivers and crew members who he helped that went on to great careers.  All of us will miss his friendly smile and engaging stories in the garage.”