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Raymond Beadle
Nationality American
Born (1943-12-16)December 16, 1943
Spur, Texas
Died October 20, 2014(2014-10-20) (aged 70)
Dallas, Texas
Retired 1987 (as racer), 1990 (as owner)
Years active 1970s-1990
Teams Don Schumacher Racing; Blue Max Racing
Best finish 1st (7 times) in 1975, 1976, 1979-1981, 1989
Awards
2014 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

Raymond Beadle (December 16, 1943 – October 20, 2014) was an American drag racer and auto racing team owner.

Beadle was perhaps best known as the driver and owner of the "Blue Max" Funny Car. Beadle won three consecutive NHRA Funny Car championships from 1979 to 1981 and three IHRA Funny Car championships, 1975-6 and 1981.

In NASCAR, Beadle owned a NASCAR Winston Cup Series team from 1983 to 1990, winning the 1989 Winston Cup Series Championship with driver Rusty Wallace. His team's car number was always #27 and his car was usually a Pontiac.[1]

He also owned a World of Outlaws Sprint car racing team, driven by Sammy Swindell.

Drag racing career[edit]

Almost immediately after jump-starting Harry Schmidt's Blue Max team, Beadle rivaled "Jungle" Jim Liberman in popularity and Don Prudhomme in on-track success. By the end of his first year with the Max, Beadle was the U.S. Nationals champion, and by the end of the decade, he was the reigning world champ and a bona-fide superstar.

Beadle's Funny Car (rear) driven by Tom McEwen in 1987, facing off against Kenny Bernstein

Beadle never claimed to be a tuner, and Schmidt wasn't interested in driving, promoting, or worrying about the day-to-day business of racing. Beadle was. He had the Blue Max name copyrighted, incorporated the medal from which the Blue Max movie got its name into the paint scheme, lined up sponsors and race dates, and immediately demanded four times what Schmidt had commanded in appearance fees and got it. In 1975, the car had been Harry Schmidt's Blue Max, and in 1976, it said Beadle & Schmidt. The '77 car, also a Mustang II, was Beadle's alone, sponsored by English Leather and Napa Regal Ride. Beadle won the NHRA championship in 1979 with two wins in five finals against Tom Hoover, Gary Burgin, Billy Meyer, a young John Force, and Jim Dunn. In 1980, he won in Columbus, Denver, and Seattle, was runner-up in Gainesville and Ontario, and defended the championship. In 1981, he won the title a third time, and again Prudhomme was second. The Blue Max, now a Plymouth Horizon, reached the final four times in 1981 and won the biggest, the U.S. Nationals. Driving a Ford EXP in 1982, Beadle went after a fourth straight championship, but slipped to fifth in the points standings by years’ end. In 1983, Beadle won just once, at the Springnationals, and in 1984, he scored back-to-back wins, in Englishtown and Denver, with another blue Mustang. Beadle put veteran "Lil' John" Lombardo in his red and blue Schlitz Blue Max in 1985, and Lombardo won the U.S. Nationals, defeating Dale Pulde's Miller High Life Buick Regal and giving Beadle his last great win. Beadle got back in the seat in 1987 and reached the final round of two races late that year. Richard Tharp, one of the car's original drivers when Schmidt owned the car, drove in 1988.

NASCAR owner[edit]

Tim Richmond driving Beadle's #27 car in 1983.

Beadle entered NASCAR Winston Cup as a team owner in 1983 by buying out the equipment of M.C. Anderson, continuing with Anderson's #27 number.[2]

He started with sponsorship from Old Milwaukee beer and driver Tim Richmond. Mixed success followed for Beadle's Blue Max Racing team.

When Richmond moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 1986, Beadle picked up Rusty Wallace. In its penultimate year of operation, the team won the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup title, with Wallace driving the #27 Kodiak Pontiac. Jimmy Makar was the chassis specialist during that 1989 championship.[3]

The 1989 championship year was reportedly marked with acrimony between Wallace and Beadle. However, Wallace remained under contract with the team for the 1990 season.[4]

For 1990, the Kodiak sponsorship moved to Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the #25, and Beadle's team was sponsored by Miller Genuine Draft beer. The four-year sponsorship deal was specifically tied to Rusty Wallace, meaning it went where the 1989 champ went as well.[4]

By June 1990, Wallace had chosen to leave Beadle's team,[5] and he landed at Penske Racing for 1991, bringing the Miller beer sponsorship with him.

Beadle's team suspended operations and left Winston Cup at the end of the 1990 season. Penske acquired their equipment and the car runs today as the #2 Miller Lite car driven by Brad Keselowski.

Post-racing, Beadle operated cattle ranches in West Texas and Arkansas, as well as a quarter horse farm near Valley View, Texas. He said he opened the ranch at least partially as a way to entertain sponsors while racing and bred grand champions at both.[6]

Death[edit]

In July 2014, Beadle suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery to relieve artery blockages. Beadle died on October 20 of the same year.[7]

Awards[edit]

  • He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2014[8]
  • Finalist for 2014 International Motorsports Hall of Fame[9]
  • Ranked 20th on the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000[10]
  • Member of the 11th class of inductees into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame[11]
  • 2006 recipient of the Bruton Smith Legends Award in the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame[12]
  • American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association's All-American team in 1980

References[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Beadle — Please support Wikipedia.
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1047 news items

Dallas Business Journal (blog)

New York Times
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:29:28 -0700

Raymond Beadle, a drag racer who was a three-time funny car world champion and the owner of a championship Nascar team, died on Monday in Dallas. He was 70. The National Hot Rod Association confirmed his death but did not specify a cause. He had ...

NBCSports.com

NBCSports.com
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:51:22 -0700

They say they always do things bigger in Texas, and that phrase would perfectly describe legendary former drag racer and NASCAR team owner Raymond Beadle. Beadle, who passed away early Monday in Dallas at the age of 70, seemingly was always ...

Johnson City Press (subscription)

Johnson City Press (subscription)
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:52:30 -0700

Some memories about Raymond Beadle who died Monday at the age of 70. He was best known as a champion drag racer with three straight NHRA Funny Car championships and three more IHRA titles. For me, the top memories are as car owner of the No.
 
Long Beach Press Telegram
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:00 -0700

The American auto racing industry lost a gifted visionary this week when Raymond Beadle passed away in Dallas of a heart attack at age 70. He was a champion drag racer, winning three NHRA Funny Car titles to dethrone Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, ...

Drag Racing Online Magazine

Drag Racing Online Magazine
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:11:15 -0700

This match-up also included a special solo tribute pass by the "Blue Max" to Raymond Beadle who had just passed away in a Dallas hospital. A battle of blown alcohol vs. nitro Outlaw Fuel Altered teams made up the third match race pairing with Donnie ...

The News Journal

The News Journal
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:22:12 -0700

SINGAPORE – A new venue, an injury-hit preparation and insults from a top sports official — none of it could stop Serena Williams' winning streak at the WTA Finals. The three-time defending champion made it 16-straight wins at the season-ending ...
 
Chicago Daily Herald
Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:18:45 -0700

He was 83. Raymond Beadle, a three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion and a championship NASCAR team owner, has died. He was 70. • Tom Slade, who led the Republican Party of Florida as Jeb Bush and the GOP rose to power, has died at age 78.
 
Yahoo Sports
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:06:57 -0700

"Raymond Beadle is the man who started all of the Mobil 1 stuff in NASCAR. He had the relationship with all the folks at Mobil 1 when I came on at Blue Max back in 1986 and then he was able to get them on the car. When I left, Beadle and Raymond ...
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