Gonzales' debut came in 1961, when he competed in the Daytona 500 Qualifier event at Daytona. Starting 11th in the field of thirty-three, Gonzales only completed nine laps before quitting, finishing 28th and missing the Daytona 500. It wasn't the only struggle for Gonzales that year, failing to finish three of his next four races as well, only finishing a best of 29th at Charlotte in those events. But in the one race Gonzales finished he was spectacular, starting 28th but driving to a career-best 4th place finish.
Gonzales' other four races came in the 1962 season, and it proved to be a mixed bag for the driver. He failed to finish two of his races, finishing 46th of forty-eight at Charlotte and finishing 28th in the July Daytona race after an oil pressure issue. But in the other two races, Gonzales notched respectable finishes: a season-best 19th place showing at Darlington and a 24th at Atlanta.