By Staff Report
March 14, 2018
at 1:02 pm
Charles “Charlie” Strang, a former NASCAR national commissioner, died Sunday. He was 96.
Strang succeeded Semon E. “Bunky” Knudsen as NASCAR commissioner in 1998 and served in that position for 10 years. Before his time in stock-car racing, he served as the top engineer for Mercury Marine owner Carl Kiekhaefer, who promoted his outboard motor company through a successful racing team.
Strang, who later served as director of Outboard Marine Engineering, was credited with inventing the sterndrive engine. The boating technology stemmed from sketches he made as a student at MIT in 1948.
“Charles Strang joined NASCAR following a long tenure as an executive at Outboard Marine Corp., where he built a well-deserved reputation as a respected leader with a reasoned and measured voice,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement. “He used those skills expertly in our sport for many years, holding the post of NASCAR National Commissioner for more than a decade.
“Charlie was a valued friend and resource to both my father and I, and to many throughout NASCAR. On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Charlie’s wife Barbara, his entire family and his many friends.”
Strang was also an influential leader in the world of boat racing. He was president of the UIM, an international governing body for powerboat racing, and also headed the American Power Boat Association.