Junie Donlavey was a NASCAR team owner for over 50 years. He passed away on Monday night aged 90 years old in his home town of Richmond, a place that he stayed near to for most of his career. The local TV station, WWBT reported that he had Alzheimer’s Disease. His family said that it was very appropriate that he died aged 90 as this was a number that was often on his stock cars.
It was back in 1950 when he fielded his first race with the car that he owned finished 19th, driven by Runt Harris at Martinsville. By the end of his career he had managed 60 different drivers with his team having their final race in 2002 at Rockingham where his driver Hermie Sadler finished in 41st place.
There were many drivers that drove for his team that did well. Famously David Pearson is now in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Fred Lorenzen and Joe Weatherey are inductees. Also among the most well known names that drove for his team were Bill Dennis, Robby Gordon, Bobby Issac, Benny Parsons, Johnny Rutherford, Morgan Shepherd, Dick Brooks, Charlie Glotzbach, Ernie Irvan, Tiny Lund, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Dick Trickle.
It was in 1981 when the team had its only victory in the 863 Cup Series when Jody Ridley won ahead of Bobby Allison and ended up finishing fifth overall that season which was the best the team had ever done. It was in 2007 that Donlavey was put in to the Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The team had 863 starts while Donlavey was a Sprint Cup Series car owner and had millions of fans. He left behind a long lasting legacy having had many successful drivers as part of his team over the 50+ years that he managed it.