NASCAR: Charlie Glotzbach, Cup Series Winner and Superspeedway Pioneer, Dies at 82

by Josh Lanier

NASCAR legend Charlie Glotzbach and pioneer of the sport died Friday, April 23, at the age of 82. No cause of death was released.

Nicknamed Chargin’ Charlie, Glotzbach was the first person to break 200 mph in a stock car at Talladega Superspeedway. And he still holds the fastest face average for Bristol Motor Speedway.

“That’s how he got his name. He stood on the gas,” A.J. Foyt once said of Glotzbach, who claimed to have lapped the Chelsea (Mich.) Proving Grounds at 243 mph in the late 1960s.

Chargin’ Charlie only knew how to go fast. In 1969, he set a world-qualifying record for the opening race at Talladega at 199.466 mph, NASCAR reported.

“It was the biggest thrill of my career. It almost takes your breath away,” Glotzbach told the press after exiting his Ray Nichels-owned Dodge.

In 1970, he missed part of the season recovering from two gunshot wounds suffered the previous November after a disagreement with a former employee, NASCAR said in his obituary. Glotzbach competed at NASCAR’s highest level for 18 seasons from 1960 until 1994, his local paper said. He won four races, recorded 38 top-five finishes and 50 Top 10’s in only 124 starts.

“I’m proud to have run in NASCAR,” Glotzbach told the (Jeffersonville, Ind.) News and Tribune in 2011. “I was proud just to do it, but I’m also proud of the races I won. Plus I had a good percentage of finishing in the top five or top 10 of the races I ran.”

NASCAR viewed Charlie Glotzbach as an Outsider

In the early years of the sport, NASCAR was mostly for Southerners only. Some in the sport saw Charlie Glotzbach, who was from Southern Indiana, as an outsider. His country drawl helped him pass in those early days though.

However, he won over a lot of his competitors with is skills on the track.

Glotzbach didn’t limit himself to NASCAR alone. He raced in the ARCA Series part-time and was named rookie of the year in 1964. Glotzbach even won four ARCA Menards Series races after turning 50.

“He was your typical hard-nosed racer. You knew when you raced him, you have to give him a lot of respect,” Frank Kimmel said about Glotzbach. “You knew if you tried to pass him, you needed to pass him clean and treat him with respect or you were going to have problems with him.”