spent most of his life in his small race car shop in Sanford NC. He couldn't
afford to pay team professionals to help, so he was helped by Community
Volunteers, and some guys who loved racing just as much,
and wanted to be a part of it.
won many races on the dirt tracks of North Carolina in the early
1960's, and he won the Championship at the old Rockingham dirt track
in 1962. Once moving to Winston Cup, the wins did not come as easily.
His best finish in the Winston Cup Series was third at Malta Speedway
in upstate New York in 1971.
He finished 9th in the points championship that year- his highest championship finish.
quick with a smile, puffin on his trade-mark cigars ~ he was
just as quick with a helping hand and his toolbox full of wrenches.
His passion for racing was only equaled to his love of a good cigar.
You could always tell the length of a race, by the number of cigars
JD taped to his dash.
had a big heart and a steely determination that made him popular
with both drivers and crew members. He was never what one would categorize today as a "front-runner", but he was from the Old School
did things on his own, and didn't buy anything unless he had to
have it. If he had a part that could be repaired, unlike todays multi-million dollar teams that discard them, he would repair it, and use it again.
He was also known for buying used parts from the larger racing teams,
to avoid the high cost of new parts.
continued to show up at the tracks with his old pickup truck and
his race car on a trailer. Other teams often went out of their way to give
him a hand. When it appeared that JD would not be able to make a qualifying attempt in Daytona one February, Earnhardt quietly
took up a collection in the garage area to rent an engine for him.
Junior Johnson always said "Give him anything he wants"
....everybody helped him, and JD borrowed only when he had to,
and paid them back as soon as he could. Twenty five years ago, his
blue Ford crew cab was state of the art, but not one to waste money,
his one car open hauler could often be seen next to the ultra modern 18 wheel million dollar transporters of the other teams at every race.
McDuffie had started 653 Winston Cup Races- though never
winning. JD did win a pole position at Dover in 1978, that qualified
him for the 1979 Busch Clash which he was very proud of.
JD had not finished in the top 10 since 1982...he continued
to do what he truly loved. And that was Racin!
Yep, fixer up and go racin again!
the Saturday evening before the Watkins Glen Race, McDuffie,
the last of the independents on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, had driven a stock car into Victory Lane!
wonderful and uplifting experience for the cigar smoking 52 year old driver.
It was only a 10 mile match race for late model stock cars at Shangri-La
Speedway, a short track in Owego NY, the cars were
donated for the drivers to use. McDuffie was competing against
Earnhardts "Flying Aces" crew, and he won by about 5 car lengths!
They never thought they would get him to stop grinning.
That win would be his last.
Sunday August 11, 1991, JD was killed instantly when his
Pontiac slid off course in turn 5 of the 2.428 mile road course at
about 170 mph, slamming into a tire barrier, and flipping upside down.
The wreck occurred on turn 5, one of the toughest corners at the end of
the long highspeed backstretch. At least 5 cars crashed in that same
location during the weekend practice sessions.
never finished the Watkins Glen race - but the last race he competed
in and finished...HE WON!
to all of us who loved JD, his unstoppable determination, unflappable spirit,
and his perseverance at all cost to do what he truly loved...
JD will always be a WINNER!