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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Tales from the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina

Globe Drive's Peter Cheney spent a week in North Carolina exploring NASCAR's moonshining roots. These pictures capture a behind the scenes look at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and some of the finest back roads in the world.

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NASCAR legend and ex-moonshine runner Junior Johnson in a 1940 Ford sedan like the ones he once used to transport illegal whisky.

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A road near Purlear, North Carolina named in honor of stock car champion and former moonshiner Benny Parsons, who died of cancer in 2007.

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A back road in Wilkes County, North Carolina, the heart of moonshine country.

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North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountain National Park, home to some of the best driving roads in the world.

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Cheoah Dam, near Tapoco, North Carolina. Located along Hwy 129, the dam was used as a setting in the Harrison Ford movie "The Fugitive."

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Drivers from around the world come to North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains park to sample the area's legendary roads.

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The Tree of Shame at Deals Gap, North Carolina. Riders who crash on the famous road known as The Tail of the Dragon commemorate their mishap by hanging wreckage on the tree. Many sign the shattered parts.

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Junior Johnson's garage in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Johnson uses the garage as a combination workshop and social center. He serves a traditional southern breakfast for old friends in the garage every week.

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A dirt road near Purlear, North Carolina that was heavily used by moonshiners from the 1940's onward.

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A back road off North Carolina's Route 74 looks like a real-life version of The Dukes of Hazzard.

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Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, a leather-heavy stopping point along the legendary road known as The Tail of the Dragon.

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One of the 318 curves in the 11-mile stretch of road known as The Tail of the Dragon. The route stretches between North Carolina and Tennessee.

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A modified Audi TTS cools down on the Tennessee side of the border after running the Tail of the Dragon,

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A magnetic car sticker - one of many souvenirs you can buy to commemorate your visit to US Route 129, also known as The Tail of the Dragon.

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Hendrick Motorsports executives arrive at the team's headquarters near Charlotte, North Carolina in the company's custom-painted Bell 430 helicopter. The Hendrick racing stable includes NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

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In the pits at the 2011 NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each team is alloted a space no larger than a suburban garage, and there are no walls, complicating the task of hiding special parts and modifications from rivals.

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Packed grandstands for the 2011 NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cars lap the banked track at over 200 miles per hour.

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In the pits at the 2011 NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The stadium has seating for 140,000 spectators.

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