Fifty years after their breakthrough victory, Richard Charbonneau and his 1970 Winternationals Stock eliminator-winning E/Stock '67 Ford Fairlane station wagon are back at the racetrack in Pomona as part of the 60th Winternationals celebration.
Charbonneau, of St. Paul, Minn., amassed the most points in Stock eliminator in both 1969 and ’70, but was not crowned the world champion, which was decided by the winner of the World Finals events. Charbonneau also was the Division 5 Stock champion in both of those years.
Charbonneau waded through the Stock Eliminator pack and established a new E/Stock record with a 12.06, 117.03 mph conquest of Keith Berg's '50 Oldsmobile V/Stocker.
In addition to his 1970 Winternationals eliminator victory, Charbonneau also won class championships at the Winternationals, Springnationals, and the U.S. Nationals, and won many other races and set numerous NHRA national records during that time.
In 1970 Charbonneau was selected by drag racing fans to the Car Craft All Star team as Stock Eliminator Driver of the Year and were featured in many of the large automotive car publications of the day, for one of which he also wrote a monthly editorial page.
Charbonneau, one of the first “professional” Sportsman racers to make a living solely from drag racing, and his wagon were feared by most of the Stock Eliminator competitors whenever he’d show up at a race, big or small. He was and is an innovator combined with a fierce competitive spirit.