Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief Ray Evernham is the latest recipient of the Smokey Yunick Award, an honor established by the legendary mechanic four years before his death in 2001.
“Just to have your name mentioned in the same sentence as someone like Smokey Yunick is very humbling, because there’s two guys in the garage area that I know I couldn’t hold a candle to mechanically,” Evernham said. “One of them is Smokey Yunick. The other is a Leonard Wood.
“Smokey was a true genius and an innovator, not only in the racing world, but in the aircraft world and the regular automotive world, and he was a true, true character of our sport.”
The award, carried on by Charlotte Motor Speedway after Yunick’s death, recognizes individuals who rose from humble beginnings to make significant contributions to the motorsports industry.
Evernham won 47 races and three series titles as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, before leaving Hendrick Motorsports to launch his own Dodge team in 2000.