Mitchell Honored at Speedbowl
July 15, 2014

The winner of the 35-lap SK-Modified feature on Waterford Speedbowl’s annual Nostalgia Night, July 26, will take home the Charlie Mitchell Memorial Trophy. The Speedbowl and the Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance have come together to honor a man who was,  without doubt, New England’s premier motorsports journalist.

A traditional stop for the New England Antique Racers, this year’s presence will be highlighted by Hall of Famer Don LaJoie who will be on hand to honor the memory of his long-time friend. Mitchell’s family, including sons Chuck, James and Dennis, will share the honorary starter role.

The Northeastern Midget Association and the NEMA Lites are on hand for the annual Shane Hammond Memorial. The Speedbowl’s Late Models, Sportsman and Mini Stocks made it a very busy night.

When the NEAR took to honoring media members, Charlie Mitchell was one of the first honorees.  After Charlie’s passing in 2012, his name was added to the award. His long-time friend Pete Vander Veer was the first recipient of the Mitchell/Ratta award last year.

A Norwalk, CT native, Mitchell wrote for his hometown “The Hour” newspaper for over four decades, actually starting as a police reporter. It was, however, his auto racing column, which he started in 1971, that remains his shinning legacy. The column continued after he officially retired, almost until his passing.

He was a racing fan/participant since his early teenage years, actually crewing with Hall of Famer Chick Stockwell for a time.

Charlie always seemed to be a step in front when it came to the New England media. He sat, for instance, on the Union 76 Racing Panel of Experts – a very big deal in the 1970s.  He was on the board of directors of National Motorsports Press Association and on the selection committee of Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Talladega.

It was all due to a writing style that was geared toward the reader, the result of serving “The Hour” in several roles including news writer and sports editor. With hometown racing heroes like the LaJoie boys, Bob Sharp and Bob Reilly, Charlie served Norwalk well. He was a frequent participant in press boxes thought the East but he took it nationally as well. He and wife “Mimi” went everywhere.

The prominent national sanctioning bodies – NASCAR, ARCA, USAC, SCCA – loved, even courted, Charlie Mitchell. He was also a member of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s selection committee from its inception for 16 years until his passing.