Bob Pronger might not present up in lots of NASCAR document books immediately, however he’s one of the fascinating figures in auto racing historical past. Apart from his recognized profession as a race automotive driver, Pronger lived a double life as a prison who was concerned in a large-scale automotive theft ring.
However someplace alongside the way in which, Pronger should’ve pissed off the fallacious individuals. In 1971, he disappeared with out a hint and was by no means seen once more. That is the curious case of the mysterious Bob Pronger.
Bob Pronger’s NASCAR profession
Rising up in Blue Island, Ailing., Bob Pronger was by no means an enormous racing fan as a baby. Pronger picked up the game of basketball at a younger age due to his measurement (he grew to be 6-foot-5), and it wasn’t till his post-college years that he picked up auto racing.
Pronger noticed his first race up shut at close by Raceway Park in Chicago in 1948. The subsequent 12 months, he hopped into the motive force’s seat himself at 27 years outdated. He joined the Championship Inventory Automotive Membership and went on to win six races and end fifth within the closing standings in 1950.
Pronger raced on numerous circuits throughout his racing profession, and he even competed in 9 races within the NASCAR Grand Nationwide Division from 1951-61. He by no means gained a Grand Nationwide Division race and even positioned inside the highest 10 in any of his begins, however that’s the place his most well-known story comes from.
Throughout a 1953 qualifying race at a seaside and street course in Daytona Seaside, Fla., Pronger gained the pole with a blistering time. Alongside the way in which, he set the NASCAR measured mile document by reaching a high velocity of 115.77 miles per hour in his ’53 Oldsmobile 88. The earlier document for a inventory automotive in a measured mile was 100.28 mph, which was set by Joe Littlejohn in 1950.
Pronger’s document time was later thrown out as a result of he refused to permit his engine to be examined, however his racing acumen was all the time evident.
Bob Pronger lived a double life as a prison
Bob Pronger’s grownup life revolved round automobiles. When he wasn’t racing them on the observe, he was promoting stolen automotive components to automotive warehouses as a part of a theft ring within the Chicago and northwest Indiana areas. He earned $125,000 a 12 months as a part of the multi-million greenback scheme, however he stored his prison dealings a secret from his household and associates.
Ultimately, although, Pronger received too deep into the mob scene.
Bob Pronger mysteriously disappeared in 1971 and was by no means seen once more
As Bob Pronger turned increasingly concerned within the Chicago mob scene, he skilled the risks of the mob firsthand. Within the spring of 1971, Pronger confronted three completely different cases of individuals making an attempt to kill him. He informed the police in regards to the tried murders, however nothing was executed about them.
On June 17, 1971, Pronger ate breakfast on the Rainbow Restaurant in Calumet Park, which was his typical morning routine. He was noticed driving away in a black Cadillac, however that was the final time he was ever seen alive.
A couple of days later, Pronger’s household reported him lacking. On June 27, a physique was discovered below a mattress close to Griffith, Ind. Sadly, it wasn’t capable of be recognized as a result of it was too badly decomposed. Many imagine it needed to have been Pronger’s, however we’ll by no means know for positive.