Racing icon Charlie Glotzbach died Friday at the age of 82 at his home in Jeffersonville, IN. WAVE 3, the NBC affiliate in Louisville, KY, confirmed the news via family sources. Glotzbach spent 32 total years in NASCAR, competing in 124 races.
Born on June 19, 1938, Glotzbach began racing in NASCAR Grand National, what is now the NASCAR Cup Series in 1960. He entered his first race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, finishing 28th after an a-frame issue disrupted his day. He competed once more in 1960, racing at Atlanta. His day came to an early end due to an axle issue.
Known as “Chargin’ Charlie,” Glotzbach stepped away from the top series after the 1961 season, but he returned in 1967. He continued to compete at NASCAR’s top level on a part-time basis, steadily posting better finishes each time. He finished in the top five on three different occasions during the 1967 season, a schedule in which he raced nine total times.
Glotzbach reached Victory Lane multiple times during his career
While he never raced a full season in the Cup Series, Glotzbach found success on multiple occasions. He won his first race in 1968, a year in which he ran a career-high 22 races. He fittingly won this first race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the track where his Cup career began.
In order to achieve this victory, Glotzbach held off some of NASCAR’s biggest names while driving a 1968 Dodge owned by Cotton Owens. The list of competitors includes “The King” Richard Petty, Red Farmer, Wendell Scott, Bobby Allison, and Cale Yarborough. David Pearson, a Hall of Fame driver with 105 wins to his name, finished third during the October race.
Glotzbach won three more races during his Cup Series career, including two in the 1970 season. He won the first Daytona 500 qualifier while driving the No. 99 Dodge and then finished fourth in the Great American Race. Glotzbach then returned to Victory Lane at the Yankee 400 at Michigan Speedway. Glotzbach won his final race one year later at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In addition to competing in NASCAR’s top series, Glotzbach raced a part-time ARCA Racing Series schedule. According to News and Tribune, he posted eight career ARCA victories and earned the honor of ARCA Rookie of the Year in 1964.
Glotzbach achieved history at Talladega Superspeedway
According to Jayski, “Chargin’ Charlie” made NASCAR history by becoming the first person to exceed 200 mph in a vehicle at Talladega. In addition to finding success at the iconic 2.66-mile track, Glotzbach made history at Bristol Motor Speedway. He set the average speed record of 101.074 mph at the famed Tennessee track, a mark that many other drivers have failed to reach.
Talladega Superspeedway also served as the site of a controversial moment in NASCAR history. Glotzbach won the pole for the inaugural Talladega 500, reaching 199.466 mph in a winged Dodge Daytona Charger. However, the Professional Drivers Association, a drivers’ union led by Petty, made the decision to boycott the race out of safety concerns.
The News and Tribune wrote in a 2011 article that the PDA said the speeds were too fast and that the tires would wear out after only five laps. Glotzbach and 30 other drivers boycotted the race. Richard Brickhouse replaced him in the Dodge and won the race after edging out Jim Vandiver and Ramo Stott.