SEBRING - C.L. "Charlie" Earwood, a prominent racing official and former manager of Sebring International Raceway, died Tuesday in his Punta Gorda home at the age of 89.
Ken Breslauer, who handles public relations for the raceway and who worked for Earwood when he was manager, said Earwood played an important role in helping to ensure the raceway's future and making changes in it that still remain.
Breslauer said Earwood served as manager from 1987 to 1989. He was the interim manager, taking over not long after the raceway's entire staff resigned in 1986, apparently following a dispute.
One of Earwood's largest accomplishments was redesigning the test course configuration. Up until that, the raceway only operated part time because roads were connected with the Sebring Airport and industrial property, Breslauer said.
With the changes brought about by Earwood, the facility could be open all year.
"That allowed the track to be rented any day of the year," Breslauer said, adding that it brought in additional revenue.
Breslauer said Earwood's first visit to the raceway was likely in 1957 as a spectator.
In the ensuing years, Earwood raced Porsches and was an active member and official of the Sports Car Club of America, according to racer.com.
He served as an official at the organization's national runoffs in Atlanta from 1964 to 1993, chief steward for the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours as well as Daytona, as well as at several other racing series, racer.com said.
He received several recognitions and was inducted into the organization's hall of fame in 2012.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ann, and two sons, Terry and Steve.
A memorial service will be held March 4 in Punta Gorda, racer.com said.