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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
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]


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]


  • 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


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

Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:13:45 -0700

Drag racing legend Raymond Beadle died in 2014 at age 70, but to look at the fans surrounding the Blue Max AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car at the Good Vibrations Texas Nationals Fueled by Sunoco at the San Antonio Raceway last weekend, you'd think it was ...


Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:56:55 -0700

From Cary Goforth's AMSOIL Pro Stock, to the wheel-standing Sherman Racing Corvette. From a young fan's own photo of the Raymond Beadle Blue Max tribute Nitro Funny Car, to Bruce Litton wrinkling the Hoosiers while launching the U.S. Male Funny Car.


Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:35:34 -0700

Legendary drag racer and former championship-winning NASCAR team owner Raymond Beadle passed away Monday after suffering a heart attack at the age of 70. Raymond Beadle owned the No. 27 Pontiac that won the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ...
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 ...

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:42:52 -0800

Southern California racing legend Raymond Beadle, who died last month, left a lasting impact on the sport. This weekend's NHRA Auto Club Flinals at Auto Club Raceway at Fairplex will the first big NHRA event there since his passing. (Courtesy photo).


Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:47:26 -0700

Raymond Beadle, a drag racer who owned cars in NASCAR's top series for eight seasons and won the 1989 Winston Cup championship with driver Rusty Wallace, died Monday. He was 70. Beadle owned cars driven by Tim Richmond from 1983-85 and ...


Fri, 18 Mar 2016 14:22:30 -0700

When: 6 p.m. Saturday. □ Where: Amarillo Civic Center Complex Heritage Ballroom. □ How much: $20. □ Information: 806-302-382-3779, 806-683-5589 or amarillomhof@gmail.com. Hall of Fame inductees. Raymond Beadle. CJ Bichsel. Ernie Boynton.


Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:06:41 -0700

As part of NHRA's 50th Anniversary of Funny Car celebration, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the cars they believe are the most important in the class' history. After hundreds of suggestions from fans, an expert panel of drag racing ...

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