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Richard "Richie" Panch
Born: May 28, 1954      Died: September 2, 1985
Home: Daytona Beach, FL

Richie Panch  was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver from 1973 to 1976, earning three top-fives and eleven top-tens. He competed in forty-seven Cup Series and one Busch Series event in his career prior to dying on September 2, 1985.

In February, 1973, Richie raced in several different types of racing. A "Permatex 300" start in the #99 '66 Chevelle (See below. Future NASCAR driver Jackie Rodgers had #98 for that race), a GN East race for Walter Ballard, an IMSA race, a USAC and an FIA World Sports Car race!

His first Cup start would be at Darlington, driving for Junie Donlavey, finishing 17th in the #90 Ford.

The #98 team was based in Port Orange, Florida with "Bucky" Bucklin-CC. His remaining three Cup 1973 races would all be in Donlavey 'rentals' as the #98. 

Most of Panch's success came in his second year of competition, when he ran a full schedule in 1974. Earning seven top-tens including a career-best third place effort at Richmond International Raceway, Panch finished a career-high 14th place in points and runner-up in the Rookie of the Year points to winner Earl Ross. One of the cars was built by his old Vermont crew chief "Bucky" Bucklin, reportedly from a car from Elmer Duellman's Wisconsin salvage yard as Elmer had been a friend of his dad Marvin since 1968.

Following a part-time schedule in 1975 that earned Panch four more top-tens, Panch only made one start in 1976. Following a 21st place finish at Atlanta, Panch never returned to Cup competition.


1972-3 Era

Panch had officially raced a grand total of 9295 laps - the equivalent of 11,040.9 miles (17,768.6 km) of stock car racing. His average start is 18th place while his average finish is 23rd place. Total earnings for Richie Panch were $90,842. Out of the 9295 laps in his career, Panch had led nine of them.

Richie Panch is the son of NASCAR Cup Series veteran Marvin Panch.

Busch Series Career

Panch's lone Busch start came in 1983, when Panch raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Starting 27th in the forty-two car field, Panch completed all but three laps in route to a respectable 15th place effort.

Richie also loved Road Racing

Daytona Road Racing with Ray Kessler and Wilbur Pickett


With his father Marvin Panch of NASCAR fame during Daytona Road Races

 

The Air Crash

September 1, 1985: Richie Panch, age 30, a Nascar race driver, was flying a Piper PA-28-235-B plane with ID numbers N9340W departing Darlington, SC and was enroute to Muscle Shoals, Alabama before returning to hometown Daytona Beach when it flew into heavy rain and squall line over Rion, South Carolina and came apart in mid-air. Pilot error, poor judgment and planning was blamed.

From the Aviation Safety Network: THE ACFT HAD BEEN CRUISING AT 10,500 FT FOR SEVERAL MIN AND THEN INFORMED ATC THAT THEY WERE CLIMBING TO 12,500 FT DUE TO VFR. SHORTLY THERE AFTER THE ACFT DISAPPEARED FROM THE RADAR SCOPE. WITNESSES HEARD THE ENGINE MAKING AN UNUSUAL SOUND AND LOOKED UP AND SAW THE ACFT FALLING FROM THE SKY AND PARTS FALLING FROM IT. ONE WITNESS CLAIMED TO HAVE SEEN THE ACFT COME OUT OF A CLOUD. A SQUALL LINE AND HEAVY RAIN WERE REPORTED IN THE AREA A SHORT TIME LATER BY PEOPLE IN THE LOCAL AREA. 

Four people died in the accident, including Richie Panch's close friend Dale Singleton, a famous motorcycle rider, two-time winner of the "Daytona 200", who was just breaking into auto racing. Others who perished were Barbara Fairbanks and Richie's girlfriend (passengers unverified...Come you help?)


Piper PA-28-235 (Not Panch's Plane)


Yes, that's Darrell Waltrip to the left of Richie

 

 

 






 

Richie Panch Cup Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1973 19 4 of 28 0 0 0 0 510 0 4,510 70 23.2 31.0
1974 20 28 of 30 0 2 7 0 6257 1 52,712 14 17.7 20.8
1975 21 14 of 30 0 1 4 0 2276 8 32,585 29 15.6 25.1
1976 22 1 of 30 0 0 0 0 252 0 1,035 92 20.0 21.0
4 years 47 0 3 11 0 9295 9 90,842   17.6 22.9

Richie Panch Busch Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1983 29 1 of 35 0 0 0 0 197 0 2,900 116 27.0 15.0
1 year 1 0 0 0 0 197 0 2,900   27.0  

Richie Panch Grand National East Series Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1973 19 2 of 15 0 0 1 0 267 0 530 26   8.5
1 year 2 0 0 1 0 267 0 530     8.5



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