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)
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>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.