(born May 28, 1926, in Menomonie
) is a former NASCAR
He started his racing career as a car owner in Oakland, California
. One week his driver did not show up, and he raced the car to a third place finish. He won a championship and several races in six years, including five NASCAR
races on the West Coast of the United States
. at the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
, written 2002, Retrieved November 8, 2007
He attempted his first East Coast
race at Darlington Raceway
in 1953. NASCAR
founder Bill France, Sr.
convinced him to come East for 1954. Lee Petty
invited Panch to race in the 1954 Darlington race, where he finished third. The finish impressed Tom Horbison
, who hired Panch to race his car during the 1955 season. His 1955 finishes impressed Pete DePaolo
, who hired Panch to race in his factory Ford
team. Panch won his first NASCAR race on July 20, 1956 at Montgomery Speedway
after starting on the pole position
and dominating the entire race.
He won the two races in 1957 for DePaolo. He added another victory in April before Ford ended its factory support in the middle of the season. Panch joined the legendary Holman-Moody
team for the rest of the season. He won three more events in the season, and finished second in the final points standings.
The end of the Ford factory sponsorship hurt Panch's career. Over the next three seasons he was only... Read More