Charlie Earwood, 1924-2014

Charlie Earwood, 1924-2014

IMSA

Charlie Earwood, 1924-2014

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C.L. “Charlie” Earwood, a prominent driver, promoter and official for some of America’s top sports car racing organizations, passed away Tuesday at his home in Punta Gorda, Fla. He was 89.

Earwood was an active member of the Sports Car Club of America from 1960, when he raced Porsches in E and F production classes. He went on to introduced his sons, Terry and Stephen, to the sport as well before transitioning out of the cockpit to focus on race management and  organization. He went on to serve as chief steward at many of America’s top road racing events.

Earwood served as an official at the SCCA National Runoffs at Road Atlanta from 1964 through 1993, and was chief steward for the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as for the SCCA Trans-Am Series, SCCA Truck Series, the Playboy Endurance Series, the F2000 Series and a wide variety of vintage racing series.

When showroom stock classes were introduced in the 1970s with their potential for creative rules interpretations, Earwood was commissioned to serve as chief steward of competing SCCA and International Motor Sports Association versions of those classes simultaneously.

During his stint as general manager at Sebring International Raceway, Earwood helped design the current course and opening the track for year-round events by separating it from still active airport operations. In 1986, he and John Burns modified the original 5-mile course down to its current 3.7-mile configuration, maintaining its original integrity as “America’s toughest and most competitive track” while opening it for year-round use.

A 1981 recipient of the prestigious Woolf Barnato Trophy for “Outstanding long-term contributions to Sports Car Club of America and the sport of Road Racing,” he was also inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2012 and was awarded the “Flame of Excellence” trophy by Historic Sportscar Racing.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ann; sons Terry and Steve; two granddaughters, a grandson and four great-grandchildren. 

“Charlie Earwood was a fixture within the entire sports car racing industry,” said IMSA President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Atherton. “He was part of the fabric of the sport in leadership roles at multiple tracks and sanctioning bodies for many decades. We will miss his smiling face and inviting, jovial demeanor in race control buildings and paddocks across the country. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Ann, sons Terry and Steve and their families.”

A memorial service is planned for March 4 in Punta Gorda.

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