Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another NASCAR champ who drove the No. 3 has died

   Rene Charland, the cigar-chompin’ Hall of Famer whose pranks were almost as legendary as his driving ability, died Monday after years of failing health. He was 84.

    Although he won four straight NASCAR national sportsman championships in the early 1960s, Charland is probably best remembered for a fiery, near-fatal wreck at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 1966. Once he recovered from his injuries, Charland began referring to the accident as “The French Barbecue,” further adding to his own legacy.

    Born in Chicopee, Mass., Charland later settled in Agawam, Mass., and began racing at Riverside Speedway in 1949.

    His familiar No. 3 was a frequent winner at the dirt bullrings in Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

   To read more from the Schenectady (N.Y.) Daily Gazette go here.

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