The Ole Days
Smokey Yunick & the Grey Areas
The only thing that Yunick did better than bend the rules was use cuss words.
A high school dropout, the Daytona Beach resident possessed
one of the most brilliant automotive minds of the 20th century,
and he never hesitated from using it to his advantage on Sunday afternoons.
In his three-volume autobiography published shortly after his death in 2001, he even addressed what he believed was cheating and what was not. In the volume dedicated to NASCAR, entitled "All Right You Sons-a-Bitches, Let's Have a Race", he estimates that by 1970, over half of the NASCAR rule book was dedicated solely to him.
He is also quick to point this out as one of the great accomplishments of his life.
Once during a pre race inspection, NASCAR told Yunick that his car was in violation of 10 rules. In the inspector’s hand was the car’s fuel cell.
Yunick got in the car and told him “make that 11.” He then drove the car with no fuel cell!
Operating in the gray areas of the rulebook, Yunick says, is not cheating. However, there are four things that he considers "real cheating":
1. Using a big engine.
2. Using a big gas tank.
3. Using expensive exotic materials to save weight.
4. Very expensive aerodynamic rule violations.
"Now, three and four," he wrote. "I consider more 'chicken s--t' than cheating... Big engines and big gas tanks, I have no mental tolerance for. What brains does that take?"