Born in Colorado, Johnny Pachello was the oldest of nine children and as he grew older he participated in working at the truck farm his parents, second generation Italian Americans owned in Arvada. He still retains four acres of the original farm. Although he is officially retired from racing, he still enjoys building engines and is considered one of the top flathead V-8 experts in the country.
From 1946 to 1951, he worked on a midget race car before entering the U.S. Army. While serving in Korea, Pachello was awarded the Purple Heart. Returning from the Army in 1954, Pachello opened his own automotive repair shop and partnered with his cousin, Tedo Spano, in running modifieds and late models. One of their cars won the track championship at Longmont Speedway. In 1959 Johnny purchased Spano’s part of the team and built his own modified race car, the first to carry the famous number 19.
Eddie Jackson was assigned to drive the car in 1960, but because of other racing commitments, Jim Malloy replaced him in the car. It was this year that Pachello’s car won the first of 14 championships. Starting in 1961, Donny Wilson drove Pachello’s car to Lakeside Speedway championships in 1961 and 1967 through 1971. Wilson also won the Wyoming Championship in Johnny’s car in 1961. He returned to the #19 car to win yet another Lakeside championship in 1976. Driver Jack Graham won Lakeside championships in the car from 1973 through 1975 and Terry Daniels chauffeured the Pachello’s car to three more championships from 1980 through 1982.
Johnny always took great pride in the number 19 car and it won a number of best appearing car awards. His superb mechanical skills delivered him many “mechanic-of-the-year” honors. Pachello retired number 19 in 1983 at it sits in his garage today just as it came off the track after its last race. But, Johnny’s impact on racing was not over; to everybody’s surprise, he joined Rick Carelli’s pit crew and built engines for Carelli that won him Lakeside championships in 1984 through 1988.
Johnny Pachello’s race cars have set winning records that no other car owner was able to achieve.