Former NASCAR car owner Junie Donlavey has died at the age of 90, according to Richmond International Raceway spokeswoman Aimee Turner via the Washington Post.
Donlavey was the longtime owner of the No. 90 car, driven by such drivers as Joe Weatherly, Tiny Lund and Dick Brooks. Drivers Bill Dennis, Jody Ridley and Ken Schrader also took the wheel in Donlavey’s car, all winning NASCAR rookie of the year honors.
The Richmond native first fielded a car in what was then the NASCAR Grand National Series for Runt Harris at Martinsville Speedway in 1950, finishing 19th in a 21-car field.
Sixty different drivers totaling 863 starts on the NASCAR circuit drove for Donlavey before he ended his time as an owner in 2005. He was a part NASCAR for over 50 years.
In a statement from NASCAR:
“With Junie Donlavey’s passing this week, NASCAR lost a treasure, a man who personified NASCAR’s proud past. With 863 starts as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner, he won over millions of fans through his 50-plus years in our sport.”
Donlavey’s cars amassed one victory — when Jody Ridley to victory in the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover International Speedway — 60 top-five and 218 top-10 finishes.
“For me, it was always about running with good people,” Donlavey said in a 1998 interview with the Indianapolis Star. “There are so many in this sport and that’s the reason I’ve stayed in it so long.
“I think we’ve been able to help people, but I know they helped us. I learned so much from the Pearsons and the Bakers and all the great drivers who drove for me.”