Carter raced for several years in CART and also in several different USAC series.
Duane "Pancho" Carter, from Racine, Wisconsin, was born while his parents were en route to a race at Milwaukee. During his mother's pregnancy, Duane Sr, who was also a racing driver, referred to her bump as his 'Pancho' or 'little paunch' hence the nickname. He married Carl Forberg daughter.
Carter won the “Hut Hundred” in 1972 and again in 1975 and took victories in three different USAC divisions.
He won the 1972 USAC Midget Championship at the age of 22 and the USAC National Sprint Car Championship in 1974 and again in 1976. He had won a total of 23 USAC midget feature races by the time he last drove these cars in 1978.
He drove in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 1974, winning the Rookie of the Year title. In all he competed in 17 Indianapolis 500 races between 1974 and 1991. His best result was third in 1982 behind one of the closest finishes ever in the race's history between Gordon Johncock, who won, and Rick Mears. In 1985 Carter was on pole for the 500 with the brand new Buick V6, but was the first car to retire, going out with an oil pump failure.
Between 1985 and 1995 Pancho competed in 14 NASCAR Winston Cup races with no success. In 1995, Pancho also raced 2 Craftsman Truck Series races.
Carter has served in more recent years as a spotter and driver coach for Sam Hornish, Jr., as well as Tomas Scheckter and his own sons, Dane & Cole.
He recently returned to win the Firestone Heroes of Indy Race beating, amongst others, Ruby, Sneva and Rutherford. Pancho's career earnings at Indy exceeded $1 million dollars.