NASCAR legend dies after being found unresponsive in passenger car

In his retirement years, Marvin Panch was a fixture at Daytona International Speedway. (DIS)

In his retirement years, Marvin Panch was a fixture at Daytona International Speedway. (DIS)

On a day when many Americans were celebrating the final day of 2015, the NASCAR world learned that Marvin Panch had passed away.   According to the Daytona Beach News Journal Panch was found unresponsive in his passenger car Thursday morning and pronounced dead of natural causes a short while later. Panch was 89 years old.

Panch, nicknamed “Pancho”, was a native of Wisconsin. He made his first start in NASCAR in 1951. A decade later he rose to prominence after winning the 1961 Daytona 500 driving Smokey Yunick’s backup car. Panch made 216 Sprint Cup Series starts and won 17 races, including his 1961 Daytona 500.  He raced for the Wood Brothers Racing from 1962-66 and also had 21 poles and 126 top-10 finishes in his Cup Series racing career. He finished his career with Petty Enterprises.

Panch and wife Bettie settled in Part Orange Florida not far from Daytona MORE>>>

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