Dean Combs, a former NASCAR driver and crew chief for the legendary Junior Johnson, has been charged with making moonshine.
State agents and Wilkes County sheriff's deputies said they found a 300-gallon still in a shop building on property owned by Combs, 57. Acting on an anonymous tip, the still was found in a shop building behind a go-kart track near the North Wilkesboro Speedway.
He was charged with making non-tax paid liquor and possessing ingredients and equipment to manufacture non-tax paid liquor.
N.C. State Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement agents said about 1,150 gallons of corn mash was found. Agents also seized 200 gallons of corn liquor and 3,000 pounds of sugar.
"It was a very professional, clean operation...all stainless steel," N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Agent Shon Tally told the Journal Patriot newspaper.
The still was too large to remove from the site, deputies said, so a bomb squad was called in to destroy it.
"He got his tractor, he pulled it up there for us," Tally told the Enterprise Ledger. "That's how accommodating he was. You couldn't ask for a nicer fellow."
Combs said authorities actually praised his moonshine, according to an account posted on Examiner.com.
"They even bragged on it, said they'd never seen spring water that clear," Combs was quoted in an article by Greg Engle. "I said, 'You need to put a label on it and stick it in the store.' "
"It's something I was always interested in," Combs added. "I wanted to see if I could make something drinkable. I guess I gave someone a quart I shouldn't have."
Combs was a five-time champion in NASCAR's now-defunct Goody's Dash Series and was a crew chief for car owner Junior Johnson, whose background in illegal liquor is legendary.