The pride and joy of Elmhurst, Ill. (a suburb of Chicago), Fred Lorenzen had movie star-like looks, an infectious smile and was a big fan favorite.
Unfortunately, he had a relatively short career. While he competed in parts of 12 seasons, he started just 158 races.
But what starts those were: In that span, Lorenzen won 26 races, had 75 top-fives and 74 top-10s, along with 32 poles.
His best season was 1963, finishing third in the Grand National standings. But that ranking was all the more outstanding when he competed in just 29 of the season's 55 races, with six wins, 21 top-fives and two other top-10s, along with eight poles, adding up to a minimum of a top-10 finish in 23 of his 29 starts.
Now that's consistency.
And believe it or not, Lorenzen had an even greater campaign the following year, and in less starts. In just 16 starts of the 62-race schedule, Lorenzen had eight wins and 10 top-five finishes, not to mention seven poles.
Lorenzen, for whom a push is on to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, retired from racing at the far too early age of just 32. Had he continued on, who knows how much greater he would have become.