Charles "Chick" Stockwell was the man at the now-defunct Danbury Fair Race Arena in Connecticut. Chick raced there from 1952 through the final year of the track's operation in 1981, with the exception of the '56 and '57 seasons when the track was closed.
Chick won 208 races at Danbury, tops among all drivers there, and his 52 feature wins rank second only to Don Lajoie, father of two-time Busch Series champion Randy Lajoie, who claimed 58 features.
Chick won an astounding nine track championships at Danbury, and one at Rhinebeck, New York, in '57. He also won back-to-back United Grand American Late Model Championships in '63 and '64, racing mid-week and Sunday shows while still racing every Saturday night at Danbury, where he finished First and Fourth in points in those two seasons. In his "spare time," Chick worked his regular 12-hour days at his farm in Woodbury.
He raced at several tracks in the Northeast, including Connecticut tracks in Bridgeport, Plainville, Danbury, Thompson, and Waterford; as well as Riverside Park, Westboro, Springfield Exposition, and Seekonk in Massachusetts; and Arlington, Rhinebeck, Lebanon Valley, Middletown, Menands, and Albany-Saratoga in New York.
During the last decade, I spent several Friday nights at Chick's house, where friends and family gathered to do some bench racing, look at photos, and listen to stories told by Chick.
The Race Arena, along with Program Dynamics, sponsored the Most Popular Driver contest the final six years of racing at the facility, but only one name surfaced as the winner for all six years--Chick Stockwell.
On June 10 of this year, lightning struck Chick's dwelling and everything he owned burned to the ground, destroying his home, restored racecars, his shop, trophies and photographs. He had no insurance.
This is the opportunity for all race fans to come to the aid of the "flying farmer from Woodbury."
On Sunday, July 27, the S.N.Y.R.A. Danbury Race Arena Reunion will be held, featuring many cars and top drivers who performed at the great speedway. Several thousand fans annually attend this wonderful event, and this year's edition will be in Chick's honor.
Please contact the Reunion Committee Chairman, Dave Morehouse at (203) 798-7622 for more information. All proceeds will be used to help rebuild this World War II veteran's home.
The black and white photo shows Chick after a win in one of his '36 Ford Modifieds at Danbury Fair Race Arena; and the other photos show two restored '36 Fords. The car undergoing restoration in the photos was later completed but was destroyed in the fire.