“Pappy” Branson had the kind of talent even legends wanted to emulate; they still talk about him in hushed tones. “Whenever he would go out to qualify,” Mario Andretti told Speed Sport, “I would stop what I was doing to watch. I would always learn something from him.” Dirt was his forte. A two-time USAC Sprint Car champion, he defeated A.J. Foyt in 1959 and Jud Larson in 1964. He won 28 USAC Sprint Car races, 15 USAC Midget mains and six IndyCar contests despite battling undisclosed Type 1 diabetes. He rarely had luck at Indianapolis, where he qualified on the front row for the 1963 500. Best finish in eight starts: fourth (1960). Nevertheless, USAC chose Branson to guide rookie drivers through orientation. Branson announced he’d retire at the end of 1966, a season in which, at 46, he won three IndyCar poles. He was killed at Ascot that November. Branson was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1994 and National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.