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Charlie Rainville- Driver, Car #14

From Charlie Rainville's obituary by Ken Parker from the Providence Journal Bulletin , February 10, 1985, this says it all;

" No man is irreplaceable, but one cannot help but feel a twinge of sympathy for the person who steps into Charlie Rainville's shoes. Motorsports people are mourning the loss of Rainville, who died a week ago today.
During his many years as racing director of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), Charlie was known, loved and respected nationwide, not only for his competence, but also for his fairness and quiet generosity.
John Bishop, president of IMSA, gives Charlie much of the credit for making IMSA the world's foremost professional road racing organization. And Charlie raised IMSA to that level in less than 10 years.
When Charlie was racing in the '50s and '60s, he often helped competitions prepare their cars, often lending or giving parts - and then going out and beating them.
Later, as an official, his seemingly conspiratorial grin was often compensation for a driver who lost a negative Rainville decision.
After a brief fling in stock cars and Midgets after his World War II stint in the Navy, he became one of the pioneers of sports car racing. Charlie never seemed to have come up from the ranks. He started right out in the majors, driving Alfas and Jaguars, not only for himself in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) national competition, but also with Rhode Island auto dealer Jake Kaplan

in the challenging Sebring 12 Hour Grand Prix.
Charlie not only drove to victories and championships; he built his own race cars and engines. And he was always his own pit crew at the track. Besides his mechanical skill, he was an artist with the delicate aluminum bodies of Jags.. Porsches Ferraris, and other exotic cars. Those on the fringe of motor sports remember him, too, for starting the Narragansett Sports Car Club, the state's first, in the early 1950s. An instant expert at both rallies and speed events, he conducted the club's time trials on Memorial Boulevard, Newport, for several seasons.

During one 12-hour overnight rally in that period, Charlie raced around the Rhode Island and Connecticut countryside ahead of competitors from midnight to dawn correcting a series of errors the organizers had made in directions.
Even those who were only customers of his service work, both at Kaplan's and later in his own shop, recall Rainville fondly. He usually remembered what needed to be done better than the car owner did.
Those who knew Rainville only through his skill with cars, knew only part of the man. He was an antiques fancier, particularly of glassware, and a skilled cabinetmaker, building and upholstering some of his own furniture.
Besides all this, Charlie was a gourmet cook. Always a gracious host at his Scituate home, he was disappointed if guests could not stay for dinner.
If someone asked him how come he knew how to do all these things, he'd reply in his

quiet, rapid-fire way, "A good man can do anything he puts his mind to." The corners of his mouth would rise just a little and his eyes would twinkle so you'd know he was half kidding - but only half.
Being resilient, Charlie had coped well since his wife Sandy died about a year ago. People close to him can't help wondering, though, if loneliness and a sense that his work was completed were perhaps as fatal as his coronary.
Kaplan recalls of Charlie, "We grew up together. He raced with me and worked with me. When he was our service manager, I couldn't measure his value. I lost a damn good friend. What else can I say?"
Kaplan says just about the only thing many of us can say.




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