Pancho Carter

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Pancho Carter
Pancho carter at indy500 in 2011.JPG
Carter at the 2011 Indianapolis 500
Nationality American
Born (1950-06-11)June 11, 1950
Racine, Wisconsin
Achievements 1972 USAC Midget Car Champion
1974, 1976 USAC Sprint Car Champion
Awards National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductee, 1990
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee, 1991
Champ Car career
165 races run over 18 years
Best finish 3rd (1981)
First race 1974 Indy 500 (Indy)
Last race 1992 Marlboro 500 (Michigan)
First win 1981 Norton Michigan 500 (Michigan)
Wins Podiums Poles
1 14 1
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career
14 races run over 6 years
Best finish 38th (1986)
First race 1985 Southern 500 (Darlington)
Last race 1995 UAW-GM Teamwork 500 (Pocono)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
2 races run over 1 year
Best finish 49th (1995)
First race 1995 Ford Credit 125 (Mesa Marin)
Last race 1995 Maxx Race Cards 200 (Portland)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0

Duane C. Carter, Jr. (born June 11, 1950), nicknamed "Pancho", is a retired American race car driver. He is most famous for his participation in CART races. He won the pole position for the 1985 Indianapolis 500, and won the 1981 Michigan 500.

Personal life[edit]

He is the son of Indycar racer Duane Carter. He was born while his parents were on the way to a race at the Milwaukee Mile.[1] His father's nickname was "Pappy". Pappy referred to his wife's pregnancy as "little paunch," so they nicknamed the child Pancho.[2] Carter is the half-brother of Johnny Parsons. His full brother, Dana Carter, also raced in USAC midgets, sprints and Silver Crown. He died of a heart attack in the early 1980s.[3]

Carter is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach.[4] He is married, to Carla; they have two children, and their son Cole is an aspiring racer.[1]

Racing career[edit]

Midget cars[edit]

Carter's national career began while racing in a midget car. He won the 1972 USAC midget car championship. He won the 1972 and 1975 Hut Hundred. He had 23 midget car feature wins by the time that he left the series in 1978.[2]

Sprint cars[edit]

He won the 1974 and 1976 national USAC sprint car championships. He was the first driver to win the two USAC championships – midgets and sprint cars. He has wins in three USAC divisions – midgets, sprints and Silver Crown (formerly known as Dirt Cars) On May 30, 1977, Carter won two USAC Midget features, one USAC sprint feature and finished second in the second USAC sprint feature at Salem Speedway on a day the temperatures were near 100 degrees. This was one day after he finished 15th in the Indianapolis 500.[2] Carter ran well on dirt and pavement, but was exceptional on the paved high banks at Winchester and Salem, Ind., and Dayton, Ohio. He won the Joe James/Pat O'Conner Memorial race at the half-mile at Salem, Ind., on four consecutive occasions.

Pancho was seriously injured during a testing crash at Phoenix International Speedway in November 1977. The injuries left him with a permanent disability in one of his legs that hampered his ability to perform well on road courses. He still ran very well on ovals. He made his return to racing at the end of March in 1978, winning a USAC Sprint race at the paved five-eighths mile Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night and at the high-banked half-mile Winchester, Ind., Speedway the next day – his first races back in the cockpit of a racecar.

Carter was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1990,[2] and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1991.

Indy Cars[edit]

He drove his first Indianapolis 500 in 1974. He finished seventh, and was awarded the Rookie of the Year. In 1981 he finished third in the CART championship and captured his only Indy Car win at Michigan International Speedway. He finished third in the 1982 Indianapolis 500 behind the now-famous duel between Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears. In 1985, Carter drove the brand new Buick V6 engine to the pole position of the 1985 Indianapolis 500. He retired with mechanical problems after completing just six laps, becoming the first pole-sitter since Cliff Woodbury to finish dead-last. His last year as a full-time Indy Car driver was 1990 and his last appearance in an Indy Car was failing to qualify for the 1994 Indianapolis 500. In more recent years, Carter has served as a spotter for Sam Hornish, Jr., Vitor Meira, Dillon Battistini, Dan Wheldon, Martin Plowman and Adrián Campos Jr..


Carter passes Eddie Bierschwale at Pocono in 1986

From 1985–1995 Pancho ran 14 NASCAR Winston Cup Series races for multiple owners. His first start was at Darlington Raceway in 1985, which was the Southern 500. The race was best known for Bill Elliott locking up the Winston Million, Carter finished in 22nd. Carter began the 1986 season driving for Elmo Langley; at the 1986 Daytona 500, he and Kyle Petty were involved in a turn one accident, thus winding up in 34th place. After three races with Langley's team, he moved to driving for Roger Hamby,[4] competing in six more races that year; he posted his best career NASCAR finish with Hamby, a seventeenth-place finish at the Michigan International Speedway. In 1990, he competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driving for Paul Romine;[5] he drove for Donlavey Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1992,[6] and his final two races in Winston Cup competition came for Triad Motorsports at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1994, where he tied his career-best finish, and Pocono Raceway in 1995.[7]

In 1995, Pancho also raced two Craftsman Truck Series races,[8] driving for Enerjetix Motorsports.[9]

Post-racing career[edit]

Carter currently acts as a spotter for Panther Racing.[1]

Motorsports career results[edit]

American open-wheel racing[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

USAC Champ Car/Gold Crown Series[edit]

PPG Indycar Series[edit]

Indy 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1974 Eagle Offy 21st 7th
1975 Eagle Offy 18th 4th
1976 Eagle Offy 6th 5th
1977 Eagle Offy 8th 15th
1978 Lighning Cosworth 21st 24th
1979 Lighning Cosworth 17th 20th
1980 Penske Cosworth 8th 6th
1981 Penske Cosworth 10th 28th
1982 March Cosworth 10th 3rd
1983 March Cosworth 14th 7th
1984 March Cosworth 21st 19th
1985 March Buick 1st 33rd
1986 Lola Cosworth 14th 16th
1987 March Cosworth 29th 27th
1988 March Buick Qualifying Crash
1989 Lola Cosworth 32nd 22nd
1990 Lola Cosworth 22nd 29th
1991 Lola Buick 32nd 21st
1992 Lola Buick Failed to Qualify
1994 Lola Chevrolet Failed to Qualify


(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Winston Cup Series[edit]

SuperTruck Series[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shaffer, Jan (May 24, 2013). "Where Are They Now? Pancho Carter". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d His biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
  3. ^ Biography of Johnny Parsons, National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame 
  4. ^ a b "Pancho Carter Joins NASCAR Stock Car Circuit". Boca Raton News. May 25, 1986. p. 11. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  5. ^ "Carter rejoins NASCAR circuit". The Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA. October 4, 1990. p. 3B. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  6. ^ "Driver By Driver". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, NC. October 12, 1993. p. 7B. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  7. ^ "Pancho Carter - NASCAR Sprint Cup Results". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  8. ^ NASCAR biography, 
  9. ^ "Carter will drive local NASCAR truck". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, WA. March 9, 1995. p. C3. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Graham McRae
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

Succeeded by
Bill Puterbaugh