Eddie Pagan (August 1, 1918 - August 1, 1984) was a NASCAR driver from Lynwood, CA. He competed in sixty-one Sprint Cup Series events in his career, mainly racing at the West Coast tracks. Pagan finished the 1957 season in second place in the Pacific Coast standings, the 9th place finisher in the 1958 season, had a remarkable career: four victories, thirty-eight top-tens, and six poles. Pagan sat on the Southern 500 pole at Darlington in 1958, and ultimately won 4 Winston Cup races to compliment his 9 Pacific Coast Late Model victories. He won at San Mateo (1956), Portland Speedway (twice in 1957), and Los Angeles (1957). His average finish was 10.9, making Pagan one of the most consistent drivers in NASCAR history.
Pagan had his greatest success in the Oscar Maples Fords of the late ‘50’s. Perhaps his biggest triumph came in 1956, when he bested Parnelli Jones and a host of east coast NASCAR regulars to win the Bay Meadows 250. Pagan lead 40% of the races that he entered. A real “stand on the gas” kind of driver, he was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Fall of fame.
After his driving days were done, he worked for Holman-Moody where he met another ex-driver Dick Hutcherson. They co-founded Hutcheson Pagan Engineering, an early leader in Ford Stock Car racing chassis and high performance parts.
In 1958, Eddie ran in the pole position at the Southern 500 in Darlington, South Carolina. On lap 136, his right front tire blew-out sending him into the guardrail on turn one. The crash is one for the ages, as his #45 Ford took out the guardrail. A photograph of this crash, taken by Tom Kirkland, was used in Sports Illustrated (the first time this magazine did a piece on NASCAR).