Legendary car owner Junie Donlavey has passed away, the family confirmed late Monday night. Donlavey was 90 years old. From 1950-2002 Donlavey had fielded a team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series using #90 which Donlavey was famous for using.
Donlavey was famous for giving young drivers a chance. Donlavey had two Rookie of the Year drivers pilot the #90 Ford including Jody Ridley in 1980 and Ken Schrader in 1985.
It was with Ridley that Donlavey and his #90 Ford would visit victory lane for the first and only time in 1981 at Dover. After Cale Yarborough and Neil Bonnett blew engines late in the 1981 running of the Mason-Dixon 500, Ridley inherited the lead with just 20 laps to go and went on to victory lane in one of the most popular wins in NASCAR history.
Donlavey was a pioneer in the sport and was one of the guys who helped build the sport to what it is today. He last fielded a car in the 2002 season with driver Jason Hedlesky at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October of that season. Kirk Shelmerdine would attempt to make the 2003 running of the Daytona 500 in a Junie Donlavey Ford but missed the show. Andy Hillenburg attempted to make the 2004 running of the Daytona 500 in a Donlavey Ford as well but failed to make the show. Hillenburg’s attempt was the last time a Donlavey car graced a NASCAR track.
Through all my years of watching NASCAR and now covering the sport Donlavey’s name was always mentioned as one of the good guys in the sport and his passion for racing was something that will be remembered forever.
Everyone at Worldmotorsports101.com would like to send out condolences to the Donlavey family and friends during this tough time.
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