Foyt gets checkers, Panch gets win

Sunday, April 11, 1965 – A.J. Foyt finished first but the victory went to Marvin Panch in the Atlanta 500 NASCAR premier series race at Atlanta International Raceway. Panch won the race from the pits, where he had taken up residence after climbing out of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford on lap 211 due to heat exhaustion and strained neck muscles. That’s when Foyt climbed in and the Texan held off Bobby Johns in the Holman-Moody Ford for the “win.”

Foyt turned down several offers to drive in relief after his own No. 41 Ford was sidelined due to a hung throttle less than 100 laps into the race. Team members with drivers Sam McQuagg and Junior Johnson approached the Indy 500 winner asking for assistance, but Foyt declined. He was leaving the track when members of the Wood Brothers team asked if he would spell Panch for the remainder of the race.

“I’ve been friends with Marvin and the Woods boys a long time,” Foyt told reporters after the race, “so I decided to go in.”

The victory was career win No. 13 of 17 for Panch, who returned later that season and won the fall race for a sweep of the NASCAR Atlanta stops.

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