Harkins safety Logo
My Two-Wheeler
My Two-Wheeler

” Finish First ”

He learned how to drive by running moonshine in North Carolina and went on to become a NASCAR legend.  Let’s take a glimpse at the fascinating life of Junior Johnson.

Born Robert Glen Johnson Jr., in 1931 in North Carolina.  Junior Johnson grew up on a farm in Wilkes County.  He ran the moonshine that his father made in a homemade still, and even served 11 months in prison after a dust up with Federal agents at the still in the Carolina mountains.

Junior eventually traded the moonshine runs for the racetrack.  The all-out, go-for-broke driving that Junior showed on the back roads of Carolina transferred easily to the paved straightaways and banked curves of NASCAR.  In his first season, he won five races and finished sixth in the 1955 NASCAR Grand National points standing.

After his short stretch in prison, Junior returned to NASCAR in 1958 and won six races.  The following year, he won five more NASCAR Grand National races and made his reputation as one of the best drivers ever.

But his biggest win came in 1960 when he finished first at the Daytona 500.  It was during his preparation for that historic race when he accidentally discovered the idea of drafting.  By following extremely close to the car in front, Junior found that he could travel in the first car’s slipstream, reducing strain on his car and gaining additional speed.  That’s how Junior won Daytona against faster, higher-powered cars.

Just as Junior Johnson found ways to drive smarter and win, we can find ways to work smarter when it comes to safety.  For example, always….

*Practice good housekeeping to avoid slips, trips and falls.

*Br alert to fire prevention and know where extinguishers are located.

*Lift carefully with your legs—not your back.

*Handle chemicals with care and always read SDSs.

*Inspect your tools and keep them in good working order.

*Check with your safety supervisor for more safety smart tips.

Recognize that safety is a highly regarded value at your company and work accordingly, because slip-ups can happen to anyone, even to Junior Johnson.

The worst crash Junior had was at the World 600 in Charlotte.  Junior was driving full-throttle with a two-lap lead when a spectator threw a bottle onto the track, causing Junior to crash.

When Junior retired in 1966, he had an amazing 50 victories to his credit.  Why not make your safety record one of victory over accidents?  You can do it by working safely each and every day.  Remember…


* Copyright Harkins Safety 2006