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Raymond Beadle
Nationality American
Born (1943-12-16)December 16, 1943 (age 70)
Spur, 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 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.

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]


  • He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2014[7]
  • Finalist for 2014 International Motorsports Hall of Fame[8]
  • Ranked 20th on the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000[9]
  • Member of the 11th class of inductees into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame[10]
  • 2006 recipient of the Bruton Smith Legends Award in the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame[11]
  • 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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2596 videos foundNext > 

Raymond Beadle Crash

1982 Gainsville Florida- Raymond Beadle flips the Blue Max nitro funny car.

Raymond Beadle AA/FC at OCIR 4-18-1981

Raymond Beadle in the Blue Max AA/FC at Orange County International Raceway, Irvine, CA, 4-18-1981.

John Force and Raymond Beadle AA/FC at OCIR 1-10-1981

John Force Mountain Dew vs Raymond Beadle Blue Max AA/FC at Orange County International Raceway, Irvine, CA, 1-10-1981. Night shots.

Let's Talk Racing TV Show 1/8/14 C. J. Faison Raymond Beadle Scott Allen

Guest Schedule: 7:00 CJ Faison 7:15 Racing News 7:30 Raymond Beadle Hosted by Roger Brehm Interviewers: Jack Dodson - Legends driver Scott Allen - Arena Raci...

Maple Grove Raceway - 50 Years of Thunder: Raymond Beadle's Blue Max engine test

Raymond Beadle's crew running his Blue Max in the pits, testing the engine and control responses for the upcoming run.

Raymond Beadle Update Blue Max Mile High Nationals 2010 Bandimere Raceway.mpg

Raymond Beadle Update Blue Max Mile High Nationals 2010 Bandimere Raceway.

Summer Nationals at Edgewater 1984

Raymond Beadle vs Tom McEwen.

Drag Racing 1979 NHRA World Finals Ontario Funny Car Round 1

Raymond Beadle locks up his first NHRA Funny Car World Championship. Featuring: Raymond Beadle "English Leather" Blue Max Arrow, Don Prudhomme "Army" Arrow, ...

2011 Bakersfield March Meet Blue Max Warm Up

NHRA Big Show Racers Ron Capps, Del & Chuck Worsham, Tommy Delago among others blowin' off some steam at the 2011 March Meet racing their 1976 Blue Max Funny...

Legendary Blue Max Funny Car

Two shakedown passes of the new car. At the Ardmore Hot Rod Reunion September 4th, 2010.

2596 videos foundNext > 

3 news items

Johnson City Press (subscription)

Johnson City Press (subscription)
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:07:30 -0700

Wallace's lone Cup Series title came in 1989 in drag racer Raymond Beadle's Pontiacs. It was Keselowski who won a first NASCAR championship for Penske with his Nationwide Series title in 2010 and followed it up with a Sprint Cup title two years later.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:00:53 -0700

The announcement was made in 1998 and got its official start with the 1999 season. Both France and Panoz serve on the board for IMSA. The 2014 class that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 include Ole Bardahl, Raymond Beadle, John Bishop ...
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:45:00 -0700

Jim France and Don Panoz will receive the Bob Russo Heritage Award in recognition of their long-term support of sports car racing in North America and their effort to bring about the landmark merger of GRAND-AM Road Racing (GRAND-AM) and the ...

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