November 13, 1928|
Chicopee, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||September 30, 2013
Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
|Achievements||1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 NASCAR National Sportsman Division Champion|
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|9 races run over 4 years|
|Best finish||77th (1966)|
|First race||1964 Race No. 1 (Islip)|
|Last race||1971 Albany-Saratoga 250 (Malta)|
Rene Charland (November 13, 1928 – September 30, 2013), nicknamed "The Champ", was an American stock car racing driver. He was a four-time champion of the NASCAR National Sportsman Division, now known as the Nationwide Series.
Charland was born in Chicopee, Massachusetts on November 13, 1928 and made his home in Agawam. His racing career began in 1949 at Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts. By the 1960s he was part of a group of Northeastern racers called "The Eastern Bandits" who moved to the Mid-Atlantic and South to compete in NASCAR competition. In 1962 Charland won his first championship in the NASCAR National Sportsman Division, now the Nationwide Series. He won the title in the following three years, and finished third in the series' 1966 standings despite missing half of the season due to an injury suffered at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. His run of four straight championships gave Charland the nickname "The Champ", a name he became better known by than his given name.
Charland also competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division, now the Sprint Cup Series, running nine races between 1964 and 1971, including the 1966 Daytona 500, posting a best career finish of third at Fonda Speedway in 1966.
Charland was estimated as having won over 700 races during his career. He was an inductee into the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame and the DIRT Hall of Fame. In his later years Charland suffered from dementia. He died on September 30, 2013 in a nursing home in Amsterdam, New York.
- Remillard, Jason. "Auto racing legend Rene Charland, of Agawam, dies at 84". October 1, 2013. Springfield, MA: The Republican Accessed 2013-10-03.
- Boggie, Tom. "Four-time NASCAR champ Charland dies". October 2, 2013. Schenectady, NY: The Daily Gazette. Accessed 2013-10-03.
- "Past Sportsman Champions". February 25, 1968. Daytona Beach, FL: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, page 8C. Accessed 2013-10-03.
- Rene Charland - NASCAR Sprint Cup Results. Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Accessed 2013-10-03.
- Rene Charland driver statistics at Racing-Reference