Wednesday, February 14, 2024

1965 - Lorenzen Wheels to Daytona 500 Victory

Fred Lorenzen waves to his fans after winning the 1965 Daytona 500. 

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 14, 1965) – Fred Lorenzen, who quit a carpenter’s job to become a stock car racer, because there was more money in it, will bank another $28,600 to prove his point.

Lorenzen won the money with a first-place finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500, shortened to 332 miles by rain.

In 1963, the husky blond from Elmhurst, Ill., won $113,570, an all-time record for stock car drivers.

Using an economy gear ratio to save gas. Lorenzen said his car was about five miles an hour slower than the early leaders in the race, but he drafted - allowed himself to be towed along in the wake of the other cars - thus both conserving his fuel and increasing his speed.

Lorenzen took the lead in the 119th lap when front-runner Marvin Panch of Daytona Beach made a pit stop and was a lap ahead when caution flags came out on the 127th lap. The flags were displayed after it began to rain and Panch’s car, trying to catch up, spun off the track.

A crowd estimated at 84,200 saw the caution flag remain on until the 133rd lap, when the cars were brought to a stop in single file in front of the grandstand because of the rain. Drivers left them and track officials waited an hour and 40 minutes for the rain to cease. It didn’t, and they announced the race was over.

Darel Dieringer of Charlotte, N.C., finished second, a lap behind Lorenzen, and was followed in order by Bobby Johns of Miami, Earl Balmer of Floyds Knobs, Ind., and Ned Jarrett of Camden, S.C.

Dieringer and Balmer drove Mercuries while Jarrett and Johns piloted Fords. Fords and Mercuries dominated the race, taking the first 11 places.

The victory over the 2.5-mile oval was a sweet one for Lorenzen, who had won at every other major NASCAR speedway except Daytona.

“This was the one I always wanted,” he said. “I would like to have run for it and got the checkered flag.”

The fastest lap of the day was turned in by early leader, Junior Johnson of Ronda, N. C., at 171.775 miles per hour. Johnson, who started on the front row next to Dieringer, took the lead in the first lap and held it until the 27th. when his car struck the wall on the first turn. It slid along the wall for several hundred feet before spinning off the track into the infield. Johnson was cut over the eye. not seriously, and Panch took the lead.

Results –

1. Fred Lorenzen
2. Darel Dieringer
3. Bobby Johns
4. Earl Balmer
5. Ned Jarrett
6. Marvin Panch
7. Dick Hutcherson
8. Sam McQuagg
9. Cale Yarborough
10.G.C. Spencer
11.Bobby Allison
12.H.B. Bailey
13.Doug Cooper
14.J.T. Putney
15.Donald Tucker
16.Jerry Grant
17.Neil Castle
18.Bob Derrington
19.Larry Hess
20.Wendell Scott
21.Elmo Langley
22.Don Tiller
23.Johnny Allen
24.Herb Shannon
25.Earl Strickler
26.Reb Wickersham
27.Bunkie Blackburn
28.Junior Johnson
29.Tiny Lund
30.Roy Marne
31.Jack Anderson
32.Jim Bray
33.Jeff Hawkins
34.Ned Seizer
35.Earl Brooks
36.Red Farmer
37.Pete Stewart
38.Jimmy Helms
39.Tom Pistone
40.Buddy Baker

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