BY KEITH WALTZ
DeWayne “Tiny” Lund ventured to Daytona International Speedway without a ride for the 1963 Daytona 500, and the 33-year-old veteran racer from Harlan, Iowa, ended up scoring his first NASCAR Cup Series victory on the sport’s biggest stage.
Ten days prior to the 500, Marvin Panch was testing a Maserati sports car in preparation for the Daytona Continental when the NASCAR star was involved in a fiery crash. Lund was among a group of bystanders who rushed to the scene and pulled Panch to safety.
From his hospital bed, Panch asked cars owners Glen and Leonard Wood to let Lund replace him in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford for the fifth running of the Daytona 500.
The Wood brothers outfoxed their rivals on race day by making one less pit stop over the course of the 500-mile distance. They also reduced Lund’s time on pit road by running the entire race on the same set of tires.
Stretching his final tank of gas to the absolute limit, Lund took the checkered flag with his fuel tank completely dry.
Lund led a total of 17 laps, including the last eight, as he beat fellow Ford driver Fred Lorenzen to the checkered flag by 24 seconds.
The Daytona 500 victory rejuvenated Lund’s career and he went on to win four additional NASCAR Cup Series races. He also became a star of the NASCAR Grand American division, winning that series’ championship three times between 1968 and 1971.
Lund died on Aug. 17, 1975, from injuries suffered in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway.