Orville Nance’s niece, Michelle Browning, wrote to us to let us know that her uncle passed away very suddenly last week. Orville had a long standing on the mountain, Pikes Peak, and it is racers like him that paved the way for me to be a part of such a great event. Michele’s father Everett Nance also raced the Peak, and so did her other Uncle Bob and half brother Tim. It reminded me, of myself and my brother Gary, and how we take the trek to Pikes Peak every year with our parents, our wives and our kids in tow, to compete as a family. Family – that is what all of this is about for so many of us. I would bet that Orville felt the same way. Orville – I hope you are up with Art talking about the race and telling tall tales with some of the others. Thanks for all of the great racing and a continued family tradition. You will be missed. GT.
Here is the note from Michele Browning – thanks Michele, your family epitomizes what My Life at Speed is all about.
For friends of Orville’s, please note that on March 5, there is a celebration of his life and lots of racing talk at the Big
Train Restaurant, 3050 N. Nevada Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO from 2-4pm.
Hi – I wanted to write to you today to try to let those that knew my uncle
Orville Nance, that he unexpectedly passed away on February 15, 2011
at the age of 83. He raced Pikes Peak and oval track circuits for 22
years from 1957-1987. He won the Open Wheel division on July 5, 1975.
He was also the first to drive a rear engine car up the peak. And an
original to the Over the Hill Gang. He was inducted into the PPHC wall
of champions in 1999, and inducted into the BCRA hall of fame in 2006.
He was well known in the racing community, and had many friends. The
family will be holding a time of gathering in his name at the Big
Train Restaurant from 2-4pm on March 5, 2011, in his memory for all
who would like to attend. He will be greatly missed, and his many
accomplishments never forgotten.
Orville R. Nance
Nov. 30, 1927- Feb. 15, 2011
Orville was born in Rolfe Iowa, with racing in his blood. His fascination with Pikes Peak began as he walked up the mountain at age 6. His racing career began with racing oval tracks in 1954 at the age of 27. He finally tackled Pikes Peak in the Open Wheel division in 1956. Through his 22 years racing on Pikes Peak, he raced the Open Wheel Division all but two of those years where he raced in the Stock Car Division in 1972 and 1973.
Orville finally conquered the Peak and won the Open Wheel Championship Division July 5, 1975 out of 41 total entries, with a time of 12: 36.35, in his car #27. He was also the first one to drive a rear engine open wheel car in 1964 that was sponsored by Bert’s Auto Supply, with a homemade chassis and a Chevrolet engine.
While racing Pike’s Peak each year, Orville also continued to race the BCRA, NMRA and IMCA oval track circuits, which also included running in the World of Outlaws. In 1958 he received the Rookie of the Year award from the BCRA. His oval track racing continued until 1987 at the age of 60.
After retiring from racing the peak in 1978 he became a member of the Over the Hill Gang. A mere 21 years later, he then received the honor of being inducted to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Wall of Champions. He was also inducted to the Big Car Racing Association Hall of Fame on June 9, 2006. He was a true racer at heart that will be greatly missed by his family and friends.