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We’ve lost a true legend of racing, Wally Dallenbach Sr., who started off in stock cars and modifiers. He made his mark in IndyCar by the mid-60s, clinching his biggest victory at the 1973 California 500. His contributions were celebrated with his induction into the PPIHC Hall of Fame alongside his late wife “Peppy,” his sons Paul Dallenbach and NASCAR Cup driver Wally Jr., and his grandson Wyatt.

Sadly, the respected IndyCar racer passed away at 87 on April 29. His family shared that he enjoyed the IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park just the day before he peacefully passed away in his sleep, a poignant end just 11 months after his wife’s passing. Rest in Peace, Wally.

Wally Dallenbach Sr, a giant in the world of IndyCar, passed away less than a year after his wife

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Wally Dallenbach Sr’s wife, Annette “Peppy” Marie Dallenbach, left on July 2, 2023, at 83, and now, just nearly 11 months later, Wally has followed. They were a powerhouse couple in racing, their legacy stretching across generations, with their sons achieving glory from Pikes Peak to Daytona.

Born in New Jersey, Wally was a fixture in the automotive scene from a young age. He started in local short-track racing and stepped up to IndyCar in 1965, taking the wheel for smaller teams in cars that weren’t exactly top-of-the-line. His racing credentials include 13 starts at the Indianapolis 500. Wally Sr. wasn’t just a racer; he was also the father of former NASCAR driver Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Pikes Peak champ Paul Dallenbach. Even in the NASCAR Cup Series, he left a mark with a top-10 finish in his brief stint over three years.

Today, not just IndyCar fans but the entire racing world, including NASCAR, feel the void left by Wally Dallenbach Sr. His impact on the sport and his family’s contributions to racing won’t ever be forgotten.

The Dallenbach family took to Instagram with a touching post that has since drawn a heartfelt response from fans. It read, The Dallenbach Family, regrets to announce the passing of Wally Dallenbach SR. Wally peacefully passed away in his sleep on April 29th almost 11 months after the passing of the love of his life Peppy “Annette” Dallenbach. He had just spent a busy month with all his children, grandchildren the Pepe family and was able to meet his Great grand Daughter “Anne”tte. Wally is up in heaven taking his victory lap with Peppy. A celebration of Life will be held on a later date. Details to be announced soon.”

 

Wally Dallenbach’s legacy stretches far beyond his personal life. He’s been a hall of famer several times over, honored in Colorado for his triumphs at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and in New Jersey and Colorado for his broader contributions to motorsports. In 2006, his efforts as the founder and president of the Colorado 500 Invitational charity motorcycle rides earned him a place in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. His outstanding career also led to his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2020 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2022.

The racing community—NASCAR and IndyCar—is mourning the loss of the legendary driver

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As the news broke, NASCAR and Indycar fans and fellow racers took to social media to pay their respects. Even though he wasn’t as widely celebrated as some in the sport, Wally’s impact was deeply felt. Reflecting on their shared races, racing legend Mario Andretti shared with RACER, Reflecting on our time spent together on the track, off track, we raced together a lot and I remember the Ontario 500 because he finished first and I finished second. And there were plenty of times like that.”

Comments flooded in beneath the family’s post, filled with condolences and shared memories. British racer Katherine Legge wrote, So sorry for your loss 🥺.” Robert Nagle wrote, “So sorry brother 🙏🏻😢.”

Fans expressed their sorrow and admiration, with messages like, Condolences to you and your family,” “Condolences to you and the family Paul,” to “Sorry to hear this brother. Truly Great Man who lived a very very very full life, had a huge impact on the sport he loved, and his boys continued that legacy.”

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More personal sentiments giving strength to Paul Dallenbach were shared, I’m so sorry Paul. Sending strength and love to you and your family. He sounds like an amazing man who had a life well lived,” “Paul, our deepest condolences to you and your family. Your father will forever be a True Champion and American Hero. 🙏🏽🏁🙏🏽,” “Our hearts are broken. Love to you all,” “Paul, so sorry for your loss. My condolences to your your family. May he rest in peace🙏🏼💔😇,” “Oh Paul what a sweet tribute and I’m so sorry for your loss,” and “I’m so sorry for your loss Paul. I’m so grateful to have met him and your mom while in Balsalt. My husband Joe really loved your dad and working with him at Champ car.”

EssentiallySports extends condolences to his family.