By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
An official cause of death has not been announced yet. Panch was 89-years-old.
He was found unresponsive in his car, then was transported to a local hospital. Panch was pronounced death of national causes a short time after arriving at the hospital.
He raced on NASCAR in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was driving a 1960 Pontiac for Smokey Yunick’s shop when he won the Daytona 500.
He was driving behind Fireball Roberts when his engine expired. That allowed Panch to pass him for the historic win.
In 1963, he nearly lost his life at the same track. He was injured when his car flipped do and caught fire.
The crash and fire left him with with excessive burns they cost him an opportunity to enter the 1963 Daytona 500.
Patch, who was driving for the Wood Brothers at the time of the crash, insisted on the team hiring Tiny Lund, who was one of his rescuers, to drive in his place.
Panch would be right as Lund would go on to win the Daytona 500 that year. The 1961 Daytona 500 winner would make 216 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.
He won 17 times between 1956 and 1966. He was also the runner-up in 1957 in the championship standings.
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