Hampton, Ga. (October 28, 1962) – Rex White of Spartanburg, S.C., “hitchhiked” his way to victory in the Dixie 400 Sunday, after a duel with Marvin Panch of Daytona Beach, Fla., ended when Panch ran out of gas on the next to last lap.White ran his 1962 Chevrolet an average speed of 124.787 miles per hour to win the NASCAR-sanctioned event before a crowd of 30,000 at the Atlanta International Raceway.
Joe Weatherly of Norfolk, Va., took second in a 1962 Pontiac, while Panch settled for third and Richard Petty of Randleman, N.C., driving a 1962 Plymouth, was fourth. Fred Lorenzen of Elmhurst, Ill., driving a 1962 Ford, rounded out the top-five finishers.
Roberts led much of the race after starting from the pole position. He and Bobby Johns of Miami, Fla., waged a battle for the lead in their 1962 Pontiacs until lap 186 when Johns blew a tire and spun out.
With Johns out, Roberts pretty much had things going his way and the interest of the crowd soon swayed to the battle between White and Panch, driving a 1962 Ford. It was at that time that White “hitchhiked” by driving closely behind Panch, letting the vacuum created by the lead car pull or “draft” him along – thus saving gas.
Just 32 laps from the finish, however, Roberts pulled into the pit area, ostensibly for a tire check. Two laps later, he pulled in again and then ended the race driving at half-speed. His crew reported afterwards that he was running low on oil and three pistons were burned out.
White, who reported that Roberts, “just moved off and left me,” said that Panch would have been able to do the same thing if he had never pulled away. But the little Spartanburg, S.C., driver stuck to the Ford like glue until the first turn two laps from the end when he made his move and pulled in front.
1. Rex White, Spartanburg, S.C.
2. Joe Weatherly, Norfolk, Va.
3. Marvin Panch, Daytona Beach, Fla.
4. Richard Petty, Randleman, N.C.
5. Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill.
6. Larry Frank, Greenville, S.C.
7. Gene Elliot, Shelby, N.C.
8. Buck Baker, Charlotte, N.C.
9. Jack Smith, Spartanburg, S.C.
10.Glenn Roberts, Daytona Beach, Fla.
11.Dave Pearson, Spartanburg, S.C.
12.Bob Welborn, Greensboro, N.C.
13.Elmo Langley, Wheaton, Md.
14.Ralph Earnhardt, Kannapolis, N.C.
15.Buddy Baker, Charlotte, N.C.
16.G.C. Spencer, Inman, S.C.
17.Jim Paschal, High Point, N.C.
18.Bunkie Blackburn, Fayetteville, N.C.
19.Dwayne Lund, Cross, S.C.
20.Johnny Allen, Atlanta, Ga.