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Former National Commissioner Charles Strang dies at 96


Charles Strang, who oversaw NASCAR appeals as the national commissioner for the sanctioning body for more than a decade, died Sunday. He was 96.

Strang took over the role in 1999 and had the final say on appeal decisions for 11 seasons. In NASCAR’s system for challenging penalties, appeals initially were heard by a three-person panel chosen from a pool of more than two dozen on the National Stock Car Racing Commission. If a case reached the final appeal stage, the case was heard and decided solely by the national commissioner.

Strang reportedly heard a dozen final appeals during his tenure.

Strang also was a mainstay in the boating industry, working at companies that built boat engines. He reportedly was the longtime top engineer at Mercury Marine, which was founded by Carl Kiekhaefer, a two-time championship car owner in NASCAR with drivers Tim Flock and Buck Baker.

“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 succeeded in 2010 as national commissioner by John Middlebrook. NASCAR reorganized its appeals structure in 2013, installing Bryan Moss as the newly named final appeals officer.