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Former NASCAR, NHRA Owner Raymond Beadle Dead at 70

On Monday morning, former NASCAR, NHRA Drag Racing and Sprint Car team owner Raymond Beadle passed away.  Beadle had suffered a heart attack in July and died of complications arising from the attack.  He was 70.

After news of Beadle’s passing was announced, NASCAR released its own statement.

“Raymond Beadle had a brief, but prolific, career in NASCAR,” the statement reads.  “A true competitor whose love of auto racing led him to ownership in a variety of motorsport disciplines, his 1989 NASCAR premier series championship with Rusty Wallace remains one of the more popular titles in the sport’s history. NASCAR offers its deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Beadle was a well-known driver/owner in the NHRA, winning three championships in the Funny Car division.  Beadle was looking to enter NASCAR by building a brand-new team from the ground up, but managed to acquire M.C. Anderson’s race team at the end of the 1982 season when Anderson was planning on quitting.  After relocating the team to the Charlotte area from Savannah, Beadle redubbed it Blue Max Racing to match his drag racing team.  Under Anderson’s ownership, the team was part-time with Cale Yarborough driving, but Beadle wanted to run full-time.  With sponsorship from Stroh’s Old Milwaukee Beer and a switch from Buick to Pontiac (the team raced the somewhat controversial Pontiac LeMans instead of the Grand Prix), Beadle acquired the driving services of Tim Richmond and embarked on a full-time schedule.  With Richmond, Beadle’s Blue Max Pontiacs had two victories, 19 top-5 and 39 top-10 finishes, in addition to four poles.

After Richmond left for Hendrick Motorsports, Beadle took a chance on third-year driver Rusty Wallace.  Wallace brought sponsorship from Alugard with him to the team.  By April, Wallace had earned his first career win in the Valleydale 500 at Bristol.  1987 saw Kodiak replace Alugard as the team’s sponsor and they quickly became a force on the circuit, especially on road courses.  Despite some financial issues towards the end of the five-year relationship, Wallace won the 1989 Winston Cup Championship by a mere 12 points over Dale Earnhardt.  Wallace won 18 races for Blue Max Racing, won nine poles, earned 54 top-5 finishes and 91 top-10 finishes.

Beadle’s time in NASCAR ended after Wallace left the organization and took his Miller sponsorship (new to the team for 1990) with him to the then-new Penske Racing South team.  Beadle, who was going through a divorce at the time of Wallace’s departure, closed the team down when he couldn’t find replacement sponsorship.  Roger Penske acquired Blue Max Racing’s equipment for the No. 2 team that Wallace drove for starting at the beginning of 1991.

After leaving NASCAR, Beadle operated a cattle ranch and a horse farm.  In addition, he was also involved in real estate.

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