Nascar

How Smokey Yunick saw greatness in a young 'Smoke'

12 Mar 1999: Tony Stewart #20 looks on the track during the Cracker Barrel 500, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Jon Ferrey /Allsport

12 Mar 1999: Tony Stewart #20 looks on the track during the Cracker Barrel 500, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Jon Ferrey /Allsport

Henry "Smokey" Yunick was one of the most colorful characters in NASCAR history and one of the most brilliant minds as well.

Yunick opened his "Best Damn Garage In Town" in Daytona Beach in 1947, shortly after he came home from World War II, where he was a decorated B-17 bomber commander and flew in 52 missions across Europe, Africa and the Pacific Theater.

When he got into racing, Yunick worked with the best of the best, early heroes of the sport including NASCAR Hall of Fame members Herb Thomas, Fireball Roberts and Curtis Turner.

Even in his final years, Yunick still had an eye for talent, as this video clearly shows. Yunick, who died in 2001, saw something special in a young racer just getting started when this interview was filmed. The driver's name was Tony Stewart. Watch and enjoy.

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