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Marvin Panch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In loving memory....

...Bettie Gong Panch...daughter, wife, mother and friend, Her enthusiasm and generosity toughed everyone she met. She is missed by many and will live forever in our hearts and memories.

The following is an excerpt from the WCRWA 25th Anniversary Cookbook, which pretty well sums up how the "Grand National Racing Wives Association" became a reality.


Introduction by
BETTIE G. PANCH
Founder

This 25th commemorative edition of the WCRWA Cookbook is a compilation of our cookbooks in the past, plus new recipes from our members. There are many quick and easy recipes for "the fast crowd". We hope you enjoy this very special edition.

I have been asked time and again as to how this club was started - so an opportunity like this is not to be overlooked.

In 1963, my husband Marvin was critically burned during a practice run at Daytona for the 24 hour race. He was hospitalized for several months. Throughout this period I was so grateful for the support of friends, fans and expecially Briggs Cunningham - the car owner. He had the foresight to take out insurance for his two drivers. During these months, Marvin's team mates also were involved in a number of accidents that involved hospitalization. It was at this period that several of the wives were in a discussion of our fortunate position with Ford. The majority of us felt that had these accidents happened a few years earlier we may have lost our homes and possessions. That committed me to the organization of the Grand National Racing Wives Auxiliary. I thanked God for my ability and fortitude to sustain me, and also Marvin who supported me all the way upon this decision.

Once the decision was made, I called upon Skimp (Bob) Latford to help with the Constitution and By-Laws, then presented the draft at a couple of informal meetings. Upon agreement, we had thirteen Charter members to the GNRWA. February 1964 we were officially charted in the state of Florida. Our main objective was to form a closer relationship to families of the racing fraternity, to help one another emotionally and financially in whatever way we can.

Emotions we had lots of - finances, nil. So we learned the trade of "promoting the promoters". The promoters at the various tracks were great. We received space for meetings, selling raffles and whatever service they could give to help publicize our cause. These promotions have continued on for 25 years. We even have fashion shows, dances, auctions, public appearances, ball games, bowling tournaments and other fund raisers. But all is for nought, the WCRWA Trust Fund has been generously aiding the families of injured participants of the Winston Cup Racing Series.

During the past 25 years we have had very strong Presidents and Officers. The job is a tremendous challenge - try conducting an organization with members and activities throughout the states, and meeting under grandstands! To them my deepest gratitude for their leadership of the WCRWA. I know they have felt like crying, throwing in the towel and asking "What, who and why am I doing this?". But as I reflect, you can also look back, pat yourself on the shoulder and say, "I'm proud of you, you're a good leader", this country needs people like you.

Remember the day your daughter came home and announced, "Mom and Dad, I'm getting married". Yes, that funny feeling (she's grown up, changing her name, next cycle ofher life). Well, that was the feeling I had in 1987 during the discussion of changing GNRWA to WCRWA. But oh what a marriage it has been! We aer so happy to have Winston as part of the great family of stock car racing. So now we shall go forward for the next 25 years as the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary.

It has been a joint effort of many to have made this organization so outstanding. We have all lived such a hurried life and haven't had the opportunity to thank those that have supported the club...

  • Dick Dolan and Unocal for their unrelenting support for 25 years.
  • Winston, RJ Reynolds - Ralph Seagraves (retired) who spearheaded their program to WCRWA, T Wayne Robertson, Jeff Byrd, Jeff Kirk, Rick Hauser and Bob Matson.
  • NASCAR for making Stock Car Racing a sport that we are all proud to be a part.
  • Goodyear Racing Tires, Firestone Tires, National Motorsports Press Association, Grand National Scene, Goody's Headache Powder and Charlotte Motor Speedway

...and to all the many others that have contributed to help make this a "caring" organization. Again, thank you - we would not be here if it wasn't for you!

Last but not least, thanks to our lovely daughter Marvette. If not for her, this book may still be gathering recipes (dust?). She did all the compiling, organization, layout and typing and got it ready for Winston to publish.

Please take a moment to browse our site - check out the early GNRWA history and take a peek at some of the recipes from the early cookbooks.

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