Raymond Beadle, a three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion and driver of the famed Blue Max Funny Car, died Oct. 20 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was 70.
Beadle, who got his start in NHRA in the early 1970s driving for team owners Prentiss Cunningham, Mike Burkhart and Don Schumacher, started his own team with Harry Schmidt in 1974 and the duo raced to 13 NHRA national event victories in 28 final round appearances and won world championship titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981. He was a two-time winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, claiming victories at the world’s most prestigious drag race in 1975 and 1981.
The Spur, Texas, native’s first world championship title in ’79 ended Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s four-year reign of Funny Car dominance. Beadle is one of only four Funny Car drivers in NHRA history who have won at least three consecutive championship titles. His Blue Max Funny Car was one of the most popular machines on the national drag racing match race circuit and he is widely credited with being the first in motorsports to sell team branded souvenirs such as T-shirts and hats.
Beadle also was successful in other forms of motorsports. In 1989 he and driver Rusty Wallace teamed to win the NASCAR Cup championship. Before that his NASCAR team featured Tim Richmond as driver. He also fielded a World of Outlaws sprint car for Sammy Swindell.
Beadle was named No. 20 on the list of NHRA’s greatest drivers through its first 50 years. In 1980 he was named to the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters All-America team. Already a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Beadle earlier this year was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Mich.
Once he retired from motorsports in 1990, Beadle operated cattle ranches in Texas and Arkansas as well as a farm for quarter horses. Prior to his death he and wife Roz resided in Dallas.
FUN FORD WEEKEND– NOV. 8, 2014
WHAT: Fun Ford Weekend is back at Texas Motorplex, Nov. 8, Fun Ford Weekend is a celebration of one of America’s most popular brands and will be a massive celebration of all things Ford! The Motorplex will be filled with a family-friendly event featuring a car show, swap meet, car corral, drag racing with the region’s top racers!
This year is even more special as the Southwest Heritage Racing Association and Beat The Heat join Fun Ford Weekend. SHRA will be featuring six categories ranging from heads-up to dial-in with some of the fastest cars around. Beat the Heat will feature drag racing police departments from around the country for its World Finals!
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. Track is located on Hwy. 287, two miles west of Ennis, between Interstates 35 and 45.
WHEN: FAST FRIDAY is open to all FFW participants and any street legal racer on Friday, Nov. 7 between 7 p.m. – Midnight. All makes and models are welcome.
SCHEDULE: FRIDAY, Nov. 7 – Fast Friday gates open 6 p.m.; Racing from 7 p.m. – midnight.
SATURDAY, Nov. 8 – Gates open 8 a.m.; Registration and Tech 8 a.m. – noon; Time trials start 9 a.m.; Beat the Heat start 10 a.m.; Nostalgia cars start 10:30 a.m.; Car Show judging starts at 11 a.m.; Final eliminations start at 2:30 p.m.; Car show special awards 3 p.m. followed by Beat the Heat Finals and Southwest Heritage Nostalgia Finals.
TICKETS: Fast Friday, Nov. 7: Free parking, $15 to race, $10 to watch.
SATURDAY, Nov. 8, 2014: Parking is $5 in spectator lot, $20 in VIP pit area
Adult: $10 ($5 off to anyone who brings pet food for ANIMEALS – helping Meals on Wheels program senior citizens feed their pets.)
Youth (13-17): $5, Children (12 and under): FREE
PARTICIPANT ENTRY FEES: All Fun Ford Weekend participants must enter Gate 10
Category Fee Payout
Fast Ford (Elec.) $70 80% payback
Quick Ford (No Elec.) $70 $1,000 to win
Mustangguys Fastest 5.0 Shootout $45 MustangGuys.com Trophy
Street Ford $35 Trophy
All judged car show $25 Plaques, goodie bags, prizes
Show-n-Shine, Swap Meet, Car Corral $25 Goodie bags
CONTACT: Texas Motorplex: (972) 878-2641, www.texasmotorplex.com
Former NHRA Top Fuel national event winner Bob Gibson has been named the Grand Marshal of the Southwest Heritage Racing Association CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS that will take place Saturday November 8th at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX.
Gibson had a short but rewarding career in the early Top Fuel wars of drag racing. A lifelong Dallas area resident, he began at age 18 driving an A/Fuel dragster for John Dodson in 1967 and spent the next 5 years wheeling a variety of dragsters with success. His biggest win had to be the 1970 NHRA Springnationals at Dallas Intl Motor Speedway where he took the Top Fuel title driving the Carroll Brothers ‘Texas Whips’ digger. At this race, Gibson took out Jimmy Dupstadt (who had run Low ET at a 6.59), Don ‘The Beachcomber’ Johnson’s fueler, Bennie Osborn, Don Moody and in the final defeated ‘Superman’ Jim Nicoll for the title. He also wheeled in his brief career the Top Fuel dragsters of Ray Godman’s ‘Tennessee Boweevil’, Glenn O’Neals fueler at west coast events at OCIR, Lions and Irwindale, a short stint in the Jenkins, T-Bar and Cortines fueler (that he owns today and recently restored!) and he ended his career behind the wheel of the Peebles & Williams slingshot at the 1971 NHRA World Finals in Amarillo. After that, Bob’s career changed from driving to a career at TRW where he worked NHRA events from 1972 to 1982. Today Bob enjoys taking his restored Jenkins, T-Bar and Cortines front engine digger to cacklefests all across the country.
The Southwest Heritage Racing Association CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS is the final race of the yearlong series for the SHRA and will decide 2014 MalloryPrint.com series champions in all three nostalgia eliminator classes along with the two nostalgia bracket classes. Taking place on Saturday November 8th at the legendary Texas Motorplex south of Dallas, the SHRA SHOOTOUTS will also take place. In addition to the SHRA FINALS, this ‘race within a race’ will take place during qualifying for the FINALS with two rounds of SHRA SHOOTOUT action. Racers in the Nostalgia Eliminator 1 will compete in the Good Vibrations Motorsports SHOOTOUT, Nostalgia Eliminator 2 racers will battle in the Meyer Enterprises SHOOTOUT and Nostalgia Eliminator 3 competitors will have it out in the Alkydiggers.com SHOOTOUT. In each SHOOTOUT there will be $1500 up for grabs for the racers who place in the finals of those special races that will occur during the qualifying sessions at the Motorplex. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded at this event, making this the largest single payday in SHRA history. For additional information about the SHRA, go to SHRAracing.com.
ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 6, 2014) – Texas Motorplex and NHRA officials are pleased to announce the Summit E.T. Jr. Bracket Finals presented by Pepper Express will be held at the Motorplex this weekend. All the racing action starts with a test-n-tune open to all participants on Friday from 4-8 p.m.
Jr. Drag Racing teams and their families from all over the Division 4 will take over the all-concrete race track in Ennis for a full weekend of competition. The skills and achievements of the Junior racers will truly be tested. The competition heats up when all the NHRA Member tracks sending their best racers to participate. The winners will take home the coveted Wally trophy, Gold Cards, and bragging rights to racers ages 8-17 years old.
After the test-n-tune Friday, the action heats with the TRAXXAS Shootout Saturday. The winners of the event will not only receive trophies and prize money, but each winner will also receive a Chad Hord Edition TRAXXAS remote controlled off-road vehicle that goes more than 30 mph. The TRAXXAS cars are worth more than $250. Winners and runners-up finishers will also receive a free meal from In-n-Out Burger, a free T-shirt from In-n-Out Burger and more!
Saturday’s Fun Run Classes start with time trials at 10 a.m. with eliminations immediately following. Racer entry is $30 for Saturday.
Once racing is over on Saturday, the fun will move to the Texas Motorplex Champion’s Club for movie night and games and activities for all the participants and their families. Goodie bags will be provided for all the racers with Sea Foam stickers, signed hats from NHRA Pro Stocker Erica Enders-Stevens and more treats courtesy of Texas Motorplex.
“We are honored to host this year’s Jr. Bracket Finals and we can’t wait to plan something fun after the conclusion of racing on Saturday and help crown champions on Sunday,” Texas Motorplex General Manager, Gabrielle Stevenson, said. “The Jr. teams are highly competitive in this part of the country and I think we will see some great performances as the season comes to an end with a big event.”
The Summit Jr. Dragster E.T. Finals presented by Pepper Express will continue with the Finals on Sunday. One time trial will start at 9 a.m. Eliminations will follow immediately after the one time trial session. Sunday’s race entry is $50. Winners will receive a Gold Card for the 2015 season, Wally trophies and prize money and both winners and runners-up finishers will also receive a free meal from In-n-Out Burger, a free T-shirt from In-n-Out Burger and more!
NHRA Division Director Trey Capps said the event will be a showcase event for the category that features future champions in all levels of drag racing.
“NHRA is looking forward to making this event a model of fun and competition,” Capps said. “We want to celebrate Jr. Drag racing and the families that make it possible all year.”
Texas Motorplex will announce the full weekend’s schedule soon. Check www.texasmotorplex.com or “LIKE” us on Facebook www.facebook.com/txmplex for more news, information and ticket announcements.
Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champion’s Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., (October 1, 2014) – Comprised of the premier national Chevrolet, Ford and Mopar branded competitive automotive events, the Manufacturers Series welcomes Tucson’s Southwestern International Raceway (SWIR) as the latest host track to join the Series schedule in 2015. The 110-acre drag racing facility located at the Pima County Fairgrounds will feature a spectacular car show, lightning-fast drag racing, manufacturers’ midway and swap meet for each of the “Big Three” American brands.
“Southwest International Raceway is proud to join the Manufacturers Series and we are looking forward to bringing the historic and popular Chevrolet event back to the state of Arizona after a long three-year absence. We are also excited to bring the national Fun Ford and Mega Mopar events to the state for the first time, giving Blue Oval and Mopar fans in the Southwest a venue to race and show-off their favorite brand vehicles,” said Alan Miller, SWIR General Manager.
Southwestern Int’l Raceway joins sister-tracks Palm Beach (March 27 – 29) and Memphis Int’l Raceways (April 10 – 12) in kicking-off the season as the third stop on the Manufacturers Chevy Series tour in 2015, on May 1 – 3. In addition, SWIR will also host for the first time in Arizona, Fun Ford on Saturday, October 10, and Mega Mopar on Sunday, October 11, to round out their first season of Manufacturers Series events.
“The Manufacturers Chevy, Fun Ford and Mega Mopar Series have been successful events for our Memphis and Palm Beach facilities for years. With the acquisition of Southwestern International Raceway last year, we knew we wanted to add these events to the lineup of events in Tucson. We look forward to bringing all three Series events to the race fans in Arizona,” said Jason Rittenberry, President & CEO, IRG Sports + Entertainment.
Rockingham Dragway will usher in the 2015 Manufacturers Fun Ford season, May 2 – 3, while Texas Motorplex will lead the way for Mega Mopar Series March 28. On October 17, Palm Beach Int’l Raceway will make history by hosting the first head-to-head Fun Ford vs. Mega Mopar showdown on October 17, giving fans a chance to cheer-on and represent their favorite brand in a family-friendly environment.
On May 16 – 17, Chevy fans will take over Texas Motorplex and Virginia Motorsports Park with a double-header event weekend, while Auto Club Famoso Raceway wraps up the 2015 season, November 7 – 8.
MANUFACTURERS CHEVY SERIES
Palm Beach Int’l Raceway March 27 – 29
Memphis Int’l Raceway April 10 – 12
Southwestern Int’l Raceway May 1 – 3
Texas Motorplex May 16 – 17
Virginia Motorsports Park May 15 – 17
US 131 Motorsports Park May 29 – 31
Maple Grove Raceway July 17 – 19
Bandimere Speedway August 14 – 15
Bristol Dragway September 25 – 27
Rockingham Dragway October 9 – 11
Gateway Motorsports Park October 9 – 11
Auto Club Famoso Raceway November 7 – 8
MANUFACTURERS FUN FORD SERIES
Rockingham Dragway May 2 – 3
Virginia Motorsports Park June 13 – 14
Bandimere Speedway June 14
US 131 Motorsports Park July 12
Gateway Motorsports Park July 24 – 25
Memphis Int’l Raceway August 28 – 29
Bristol Dragway September 5
Maple Grove Raceway September 13
Auto Club Famoso Raceway September 19 – 20
Southwestern Int’l Raceway October 10
Palm Beach Int’l Raceway October 17
Texas Motorplex November 7
MANUFACTURERS MEGA MOPAR SERIES
Texas Motorplex March 28
Rockingham Dragway May 4
US 131 Motorsports Park May 17
Maple Grove Raceway May 30
Bandimere Speedway May 31
Auto Club Famoso Raceway June 27 – 28
Memphis Int’l Raceway July 31 – August 1
Virginia Motorsports Park September 19 – 20
Southwestern Int’l Raceway October 11
Palm Beach Int’l Raceway October 17
Schedules are subject to change. Visit www.mfgseries.com for the most current list.
About Manufacturers Series
Designed to offer something for everyone in a family atmosphere for the American “Big Three” automotive brand enthusiasts, the Manufacturers Chevy Show, Fun Ford and Mega Mopar Series are all members of the Manufacturers Series with 34 events in 2015. Each Manufacturers Series event is wholly owned by its respective host track and showcases a car show, drag racing, manufacturer’s midway, swap meet and car corral, as well as autocross at selected events. For more information or for the most current event schedules, visit: www.mfgseries.com