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Raymond Beadle, multi-venue team owner, passes on at age 70


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Beadle, title-winning team owner, dies at 70 - Drag racer claimed 1989 crown with Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace


October 20, 2014 - Raymond Beadle, the drag racer turned NASCAR team owner who won the 1989 championship with Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, died Monday morning at age 70.


Beadle had suffered a heart attack in July and underwent surgery to relieve blockages in his arteries. He ended an eight-year run (1983-90) in NASCAR's premier series with 20 victories and 73 top-five finishes in 234 starts as a team owner.


NASCAR offered a tribute to the drag racer and stock-car team owner through a statement:


"Raymond Beadle had a brief, but prolific, career in NASCAR. 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, a three-time champion in the NHRA's Funny Car class, entered the world of stock-car racing in 1983 with the brash Tim Richmond as his driver. Beadle carried the "Blue Max" name of his drag-racing entries over to his NASCAR team and fielded the No. 27 as his car number.


After scoring two wins with Richmond aboard, Beadle signed Wallace. The pair won multiple races in each of their five seasons together, finishing no worse than sixth in the standings each year. The crowning achievement came in the 1989 season finale at Atlanta, where Wallace held off Dale Earnhardt Sr. by 12 points to claims his only Cup title.


Despite 18 wins and repeated success, Wallace and Beadle engaged in a lengthy contract dispute with threatened legal action over his compensation and the driver's freedom to join team owner Roger Penske. More than a year after news of their disagreement broke, Wallace eventually landed with Penske in 1991, winning 37 more races in NASCAR's top series.


Besides his long association with drag racing, Beadle also owned a sprint-car team under the Blue Max banner. He was also the car owner for the first of only two NASCAR premier series starts for sprint-car veteran Sammy Swindell, who drove Beadle's alternate No. 72 car at Atlanta in the next-to-last race of the 1985 season.

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