Tag Archives: Blue Max

Raymond Beadle May Have Passed Away, But He Lives In Infamy

One of the greatest drag racers of all-time, Raymond Beadle, passed away. There are very few drag racers – other than my dad – that I looked up to, however Blue Max Funny Car driver Raymond Beadle was one. The sport lost a legend, but he will live in the hearts of racers forever.

Raymond Beadle in the Blue Max

Most famously known as the driver of the Blue Max, Beadle was the man who got me interested in drag racing when I was a teenager. Yes, my father was quite successful, yet I was only five when he retired the first time. Still, the both of us would go to Irwindale, Ontario and of course OCIR (Orange County International Raceway) to watch drag racing in the ‘70s. What caught my attention were the giant fields of Funny Cars, especially at OCIR. And it was there that I first noticed the Blue Max.

Bigger than life?

I can’t tell you what grabbed my interest in Beadle or the Blue Max. As a Texan, he wasn’t even a local, but that didn’t deter my interest. To me – and probably a lot of others – he was the star of the show.

Sure, there were big names like the Jungle Jim, the Snake and Mongoose, who had certainly my attention since I grew up with Hot Wheels. Nevertheless, as far as I was concerned, there was only one driver and car: Raymond Beadle and the Blue Max overshadowed all others.

I was such a huge fan of Beadles, I even followed his NASCAR team and became a Rusty Wallace fan, going to Riverside every year to root him on – eventually winning a championship in Winston Cup.

I’ve followed Beadle fairly closely even lately, becoming a friend of his on Facebook some years back. I known that he almost died this past summer when he had a heart attack. He was lucky enough to survive that difficulty but obviously the issue must have persisted because he recently was hospitalized with heart and kidney problems.

Raymond Beadle

For all his success in racing, Beadle was rewarded by being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame a little more than two months ago – ironically, Wallace was also inducted this year.

Beadle was 70 years old when he died Monday morning (October 20), but the memory of his exploits including three straight NHRA championships from ’79 to ’81 will live infamy … and unquestionably this fan will always remember Raymond Beadle and the Blue Max.

Daryle W. Hier

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64 Funny Cars!

Although my father (Ron Hier) was one of the early drag racers during the ’50s and into the first part of the ’60s, that was really before my time.  I grew up as a teenager in the ’70s during the the hey-day of Funny Cars and again, although dad was a Junior and Top Fueler, my love was the Funny Cars.

OCIR

Orange County International Raceway was famous for its manufacturer championship with ’64 Funny Cars’.

While I did see drag races at places like Lions and Bakersfield when I was quite small, my memories are seeing Funny Car after Funny Car run at places like Irwindale, Ontario and of course Orange County (OCIR).  The scenes are still vivid at OCIR when it seemed every piece of asphalt was filled with floppers.  The Hawaiian, Chi-Town Hustler, Jungle Jim and of course the Snake and Mongoose.  There are so many more but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal all-time favorite, Raymond Beadle’s Blue Max.  It was a magical time and listening to the radio advertisements of 64 Funny Cars and ‘Sunday, Sunday, Sunday’ still resonates in my mind today.

And that is what had me thinking, with the mass of Nostalgia Funny Cars around now or being built, a good promoter or somebody with some public relation moxie should be able to put a big dollar and fan exhibition together.  A majority of the cars are on the West Coast but because more and more new Nostalgia Funny Cars are popping up in the eastern half of the United States, maybe a neutral site that has the facilities to hold a lot of cars and fans, should be the base for this.

Sure, Bakersfield is one of the venerable drag strips of all times, but the facilities are limited so if you had a successful promotion and people came out to watch the event, there will be several thousands fighting  each other for an available seat.  Add to that the fact it’s in California and it makes it that much harder to make arrangements to travel there from the rest of the country.

Raymond Beadle's Blue Max

The Blue Max made many appearances during the hey-day of Funny Cars.

The purse should be high although what’s high in Nostalgia isn’t all that much.  However, to entice folks to come from all around including our friends to the north (Canada), there should be a healthy reward for whoever wins and even teams who went more than a round or two should be compensated for putting on such a huge show.  Sponsorship will obviously be needed to foot the bill for the purse but if enough promotion is done, the place should be packed no matter where it is.

An event like this may be newsworthy enough that even some of the major media organizations will at least briefly mention it.  So there you go Mr. Promoter.  Nostalgia drag racing continues to be very popular and Nostalgia Funny Cars are probably at record numbers right now.  Now’s the time.

64 Funny Cars … Be there!

Daryle W. Hier

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