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Sprint race car pioneer dies at 80

LaVern Nance, national pioneer in sprint car construction, died last week. He was 80. For more than 40 years, he owned Nance Speed Equipment; it was closed in 1992 because of Mr. Nance's failing health. Nance was the car owner for Sammy Swindell in the early 1980's. The duo teamed to win the 1981 World of Outlaws championship, and the Western World at Manzanita Speedway.

In 1957, Mr. Nance went to the racetrack with friends. Right away, he was hooked. He began building and racing cars. He liked meeting new people and learning new things. Soon, friends and drivers asked him to build them cars. "It just bloomed into a business," Carol Nance, his son said to the Wichita Eagle.

Years ahead of his time, Nance used lightweight and cost-effective materials to build sprint cars. At Nance Speed Equipment, he manufactured and sold race cars to dealers and drivers in the United States and overseas. In 1995, Mr. Nance was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Mr. Nance is survived by his wife, Marvell; his four children, Carol Nance, Allen Nance, Dianne Herman and Sharon Stang, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Kansas Masonic Home or the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Knoxville, Iowa. home.

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