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Former NASCAR team owner June Donlavey dead at 90

The Junie Donlavey owned Chameleon Sunglasses Ford #90 driven by Dick Brooks
The Junie Donlavey owned Chameleon Sunglasses Ford #90 driven by Dick Brooks

Former NASCAR car owner Junie Donlavey has died at the age of 90. Wesley Christian "Junie" Donlavey Jr. was born in Richmond, VA on April 8, 1924, and first began fielding his Donlavey Racing team in 1950 at Martinsville Speedway, where Runt Harris drove Donlavey's Oldsmobile to a 19th place finish after suffering mechanical failures. Donlavey's next race as an owner came in 1952 Southern 500, fielding the #53 Hudson Hornet for Joe Weatherly. He started 38th and finished 16th.

It was 5 years after that before he ran Emanuel Zervakis behind the wheel of his #90 at Raleigh Speedway, where Zervakis finished 24th. He later finished 26th at Langhorne Speedway and 22nd at Martinville during the 1957 season, but did not finish a race the following year. The only race run by Dunlavey in 1959 was the Capital City 200, with Runt Harris returning behind the wheel. He finished 5th. 21 years later Jody Ridley won the 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award while driving for Donlavey. Other racers who drove for Dunlavey over the years inclused Ken Schrader, Tiny Lund, Speedy Thompson, Dick Brooks and Sonny Hutchins.

Junie shut-down his racing team after the 2002 season. Although he still owned several cars in 2006, he had no intention of returning to racing and was looking for a buyer.