The NASCAR community mourns the loss of one of their former drivers this week, after 1978 Talladega Superspeedway winner Lennie Pond passed away at age 75 following a battle with cancer.
Pond grew up in Ettrick, Virginia and got started racing at an early age. He enjoyed driving around in a couple cars his family had on their farm, and fell in love with driving fast.
Eventually, Pond traded the family's farm vehicles for race cars, and kicked off his racing career. His Winston Cup Series career spanned across two decades before he retired in 1989. He started 234 Winston Cup races over the course of his career, finishing in the top ten 88 times.
In 1973, Pond was awarded the NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award, beating out 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Darrell Waltrip to claim the honor.
Pond earned his one and only first place finish at the Talladega Superspeedway in 1978, at the time setting a world record speed of 174 mph in the race.
After retiring from racing, Pond went on to become a car salesman in his home state of Virginia, before passing away on February 10, 2016.
NASCAR released a statement about Pond's death to motorsport.com:
"NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Lennie Pond, a true racer and for decades a fixture at Virginia short tracks – where he was a five-time Late Model champion. Throughout his career, Lennie boasted accolades including the 1973 premier series rookie of the year title and a Talladega win, but it was his passion for speed, competition and racing that made him a favorite among fans and fellow competitors alike."
You can tune in to the video below to watch a slideshow of pictures from various points in Pond's racing career.
We're so sorry to hear about Pond's passing. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.
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