FLORENCE, S.C. − Former Florence Motor Speedway owner Charlie Powell has died, per Florence Motor Speedway's Facebook page.
"It is with profound sadness to address the passing of one of the greatest people to ever grace short track racing, especially down here in the Southeast," the post stated. "This is never a post we would ever want to deliver, but with our deepest regret, we have unfortunately lost Charlie Powell. Charlie was and always will be a true pioneer of short track racing down in our area and he never shied away from putting in the work and relentless effort to make short track racing survive.
"Mr. Charlie will be forever missed but he will always obtain the high amount of respect that he so greatly deserves. Thank you sir for everything you have done and more importantly, thank you for being who you are and always being so passionate bout what you love. We ask that everyone keep the family and friends in prayer."
Powell was the 1996 national promoter of the year.
Powell was also Florence Motor Speedway's owner when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a feature race there in 1998. Powell had owned the property since 1995. Before owning FMS, Powell owned Summerville Speedway.
To illustrate Powell's toughness and dedication to racing, he returned to the track for work in mid-August 2017 -- not long after suffering three mini-strokes and having a pacemaker implemented.
The final FMS race program with Powell as owner was July 4. The day after, Powell posted a Facebook message:
"Thanks to everyone for helping us celebrate the 4th of July and our final race. Sorry I could not thank everyone face to face how much I appreciate your support of my family and your dedication to stock car racing. I was so happy to see and talk to friends that I have not seen in many years. Some in poor health, young and old, you are why it has been worth the good and bad times we have had together. Thanks."
After Powell retired from FMS, control of the track went to Myrtle Beach Speedway general manager Steve Zacharias on a lease-to-own basis. Myrtle Beach Speedway, meanwhile, is to host a farewell race Aug. 15.