R.I.P. Lennie Pond

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

Sad news that 1973 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Lennie Pond has succumbed to cancer.

http://www.richmond.com/sports/auto-racing/article_c3296b46-bf18-52c1-a31d-46e6036b9edb.html

Rest in peace, Lennie. You were one of the good guys.

Condolences to family and friends.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 09/11/17 03:29:11PM
bill mcpeek
@bill-mcpeek
5 years ago
820 posts

May he rest in peace.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
4,049 posts

A tough start to 2016 in a lot of ways. Sadly, the reality is many more obits like this are headed our way. As someone who began following racing in the early 1970s, news about the death of drivers I never knew much about has been unfortunate but didn't resonate with me as much. But now that news has begun to hit with more regularity about the deaths of drivers I did know about such as Lennie and Buddy Baker, the loss is definitely felt deeper. Human nature I suppose. But Lennie will certainly be missed. He filled in on more than one occasion for King Richard when heat and/or injuries forced from the 43 during a race.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
4,049 posts

Lennie in for Richard Petty at 1973 Southern 500. 43 finished P4.



Lennie with King and Neil Bonnett before start of 1976 Daytona 500



Lennie in for Petty at 1978 Volunteer 500, Bristol's first night race. Helped get the awkward looking 43 Monte Carlo a P5 finish. The Chevy was rented-borrowed-bought-whatever from Henley Gray at the last minute after the team's only Chevy was wrecked in its debut at Michigan.





Lennie also started on the pole for my first ever Cup race, the 1978 Music City 420 at Nashville.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

RR members have posted (and reposted) several photos of Lennie & Richard, as well as Lennie and King's crew....

Photos by Donald Evans:

Posted by Ricky Poole, Jr:

Posted by J.C. Hayes:

Posted by Andy Towler:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

The photo above of Lennie & Richard pitting posted by Andy Towler is an ISC Archive photo.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Devin
@devin
5 years ago
613 posts

My thoughts are with family and friends.

Very sad. SO many in our lives being taken away by cancer. I'll never understand why the "powers" that be can't find cures.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

Chase, regarding Richard Petty and Lennie Pond, here is a quote from Lennie's former car owner, Ronnie Elder inan updated Lennie Pond obituary feature by Randy Hallman:

Ronnie Elder said Mr. Ponds move from Late Model Sportsman to NASCARs top series, the Cup series, came after some friendly advice from NASCARs most famous driver.

We were buying parts from Richard Petty, Elder said. Lennie and I drove down to his shop in Randleman (N.C.) to pick something up. Richard was there and he said, You boys are pretty good why dont you move on up?




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
5 years ago
560 posts

RIP, LENNIE P0ND
Thoughts & Prays to all his family and friends during these tough days.


THE ABOVE GARY BURNS PHOTO WAS TAKEN BEFORE QUALIFYING FOR THE SEPT.12,1976, RICHMOND FAIRGROUNDS RACEWAY, RICHMOND,VA., CAPITAL CITY 400 RACE.

LENNIE POND AND DARRELL WALTRIP LEANING AGAINST JUNIE DONLAVEY'S 1976 24HRS. OF LE MANS #90 TRUXMORE SPONSOR 1976 FORD GRAN TORINO RACE CAR.
STILL ON #90'S HOOD IS HAND PAINTED THE AMERICAN FLAG AND (#90 NUMBER PAINTED BLACK) IN THE CENTER OF (WHITE PAINTED CIRCLE).
MISSING ARE NASCAR LOGO DECALS REMOVED ON (BACK FENDERS), 24HRS LEMANS DECALS REMOVED FROM (FRONT FENDERS).
ALSO MISSING AND REMOVED IS NIGHT-TIME RACING EQUIPMENT LIKE FRONT HEADLIGHTS,ROAD LIGHTS, REAR TAIL LIGHTS, STOP LIGHTS, TURN SIGNAL LIGHTS, SMALL OUTSIDE DOOR LIGHTS THAT SHINED ON THE #90 RACE CAR NUMBER FOR NIGHT-TIME SCORING.
DRIVER'S SIDE MIRROR AND WINDSHIELD WIPERS WERE ALSO REMOVED.
THE LE MANS STYLE GASOLINE FILLER HOLE ON PASSAGER SIDE REAR FENDER WAS SHEET METAL OVER AND PAINTED BLUE.

THE ABOVE BILL LANE'S PHOTO OF LENNIE POND WALKING AWAY FROM AN 5TH LAP HORRENDOUS 14-CAR FLAMING PILE-UP IN THE BACKGROUND.
SEPT.9,1973, RICHMOND FAIRGROUNDS RACEWAY, RICHMOND,VA., CAPITAL CITY 500 RACE.

PHOTOS Remembering NASCAR driver Lennie Pond
http://www.richmond.com/sports/auto-racing/collection_13470cb3-5c45-5e9b-8bca-c4e288253053.html

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

Lennie Pond's obituary:

Obituaries & In Memoriam

POND, LENNIE WAYNE

POND, Lennie Wayne, 75, of Chester, Va., passed away on February 10, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ashton and Janie Pond; and wife, Jane Lindsey Pond. He is survived by his loving wife, Catherine Pond; children, Lindsey Pond, Kent Pond and Laura Pond; grandchildren, John and James Pond; brother, A. Wright Pond Sr. and wife, Cindy; nephews, Ashton Pond Jr. and wife, Leah, Dylan Thomas; nieces, LeeAnn Pond Wilson, Georgia Thomas; mother-in-law, Arlene Thomas and husband, Brent; father-in-law, David McLauchlin; brother-in-law, Kevin Thomas and wife, Dana; numerous extended family and friends. Lennie always loved to go fast and would race anything that had wheels on it. He was a five-time late model Sportsman State Champion. He was named NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1973 and won the Talladega 500 in 1978. Lennie was a familiar face at Heritage Chevrolet in Chester, Va., where he worked for over 28 years. The family will receive friends from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, 2016, at the Chester Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home, 3050 W. Hundred Rd., Chester, Va. 23831. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 15, 2016, at the funeral home. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Park. Condolences may be registered online at www.jtmorriss.com .




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
5 years ago
560 posts

Lennie Wayne Pond
August 11, 1940 - February 10, 2016

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,128 posts

1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, Lennie Pond's funeral was Monday, February 15 - Valentine's Day...

Here's a link to a story titled, "Richard Petty, Others Remember Lennie Pond"

http://www.richmond.com/sports/auto-racing/article_f18639fa-c7b2-5fa9-9837-1a11ca95de94.html




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
4 years ago
560 posts

[quote="Dave Fulton"]

1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, Lennie Pond's funeral was Monday, February 15 - Valentine's Day...

Here's a link to a story titled, "Richard Petty, Others Remember Lennie Pond"

http://www.richmond.com/sports/auto-racing/article_f18639fa-c7b2-5fa9-9837-1a11ca95de94.html

[/quote]

Richard Petty, others remember driver Lennie Pond


By Randy Hallman Special correspondent

Feb 15, 2016


Richard Petty remembered Lennie Pond as “a hard-nosed driver who really became a star” and made it to NASCAR’s elite Cup level despite having limited resources.



Petty was one of several in the stock car racing family who sent messages of tribute and sympathy to be read at Monday’s funeral for Pond, who died Wednesday of complications from cancer. Pond, a resident of Chester, was 75.



Although Monday’s snow made driving difficult, about 200 people attended the funeral at the Chester chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home. Several hundred also had saluted Pond’s memory Sunday at a viewing at the chapel.




Many in the stock car racing community were in Daytona Beach, Fla., where preparations are underway for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Among those who emailed or tweeted condolences and memories were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Petty, Harry Gant and Larry McReynolds.



Richard Petty’s message fondly recalled the time of Pond’s rise to NASCAR’s top level more than four decades ago.



“Racing at the time was a smaller group,” Richard Petty said. “We were still growing the sport and everyone was just close. Lennie was a guy everyone knew because he was just one of the guys. Everyone got along with him.



“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lennie’s family today.”



Ed Clark, president and general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway, remembered Pond as a driver who was “positive, optimistic, had great determination and was a talented racer. ... His crew members, most of whom were volunteers, rallied around him to put forth a major-league effort against the top teams.”



A message from Ricky Rudd — another Virginia driver who, like Pond, won NASCAR rookie-of-the-year honors — remembered Pond, “not only for his driving skills but for his willingness to help new drivers adapt to the race track wherever we might be. When I was struggling to get started in NASCAR, Lennie was always available with advice and chassis set-ups.”



Richard Childress, one of the sport’s most successful car owners and a former driver, recalled in his message that “Lennie was a close friend when we were both getting started in stock car racing. He was always an encouraging voice and someone you could always lean on.”



Sports writer Al Pearce, a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame who is in Daytona to cover Sunday’s race, wrote Pond was “especially kind and accommodating to me, whether at Langley (Speedway in Hampton) or Daytona or anywhere else.”



Pearce recalled a turning point in Pond’s successful run for the 1973 NASCAR rookie title when, after his car was destroyed in a fiery crash at what was then Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, the team showed up seven days later at the track in Dover, Del., and Pond’s No. 54 Chevrolet “was its usual immaculate self. Lennie finished ninth that day.”



Pond, who won multiple track and state championships in short-track competition, went on to make 234 career starts at the Cup level. He finished fifth in the 1976 series points race and recorded one victory, the August 1978 race at Talladega, Ala., NASCAR’s fastest speedway.



Monday’s service included fond memories from others who were close to Pond. Former crew member Barry “Hooker” Hopkins remembered Pond “taught me to be a professional at my work.”


Lin O’Neill, who won multiple Southside Speedway championships with Pond as his mentor and who was a Pond fan from his preschool days, wrote in his eulogy that Pond was his hero who “taught me everything I know about driving race cars.”



O’Neill also recalled the respect Pond commanded in his later years from everyone in the garage area at Richmond International Raceway.



As a teenager, Rob Copeland was a volunteer public relations booster for Pond. Later, Copeland earned his mass communications degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, served as managing director of public relations for NASCAR from 2001 to 2003 and now owns a New York communications and photography firm.



At Monday’s service, Copeland said Pond was “the sole reason why I chose public relations for my profession. It was Lennie. All Lennie.”



At the end of the service, those in attendance saluted Pond’s legacy with a standing ovation.



“It really showed how strong the emotions for Lennie still run all these years later,” Copeland said after the service. “It would have made him smile.”

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va. USA