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Breaking news of Drag Racing across the country.

Connolly makes the jump to Top Fuel; Vandergriff to retire from cockpit

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Bob Vandergriff Jr. confirmed that he will not be driving a Top Fuel dragster in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series and will start his new direction solely as the team owner with a pair of two dragsters driven by three-time Top Fuel champion Larry…

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Former three-time NHRA Funny Car champ Beadle dies

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Raymond Beadle, a former three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion who was voted No. 20 on NHRA’s Top 50 racers list in 2001, died Oct. 20 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was 70.

Beadle assured his status as a racing immortal when he ended the four-year championship reign of Don Prudhomme, winning the title in 1979, then added crowns in 1980 and 1981 with his vaunted Blue Max entries.

Beadle got his first taste of nitro in a Top Fuel dragster owned by fellow Texan Prentiss Cunningham before transitioning into Funny Car in the early 1970s, driving for the likes of “Big Mike” Burkhart and Don Schumacher before joining forces with Blue Max car owner Harry Schmidt in late 1974. They first hit the big time with a stunning final-round victory at the 1975 U.S. Nationals over Prudhomme, who had won every national event that year but one and was just entering the most prolific period of his career.

In addition to its national event success, the Beadle-driven Blue Max was one of the nation’s top match-race draws, running scores of dates each year in addition to a national event schedule that also included IHRA and AHRA dates.

By the end of 1976, Beadle had bought out Schmidt’s interest in the car and hired Dale Emery as his crew chief and never looked back. All told, Beadle won 13 NHRA national events and appeared in 28 final rounds. He made the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association’s prestigious All-American team in 1980 with Shirley Muldowney and Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Dale Earnhardt, and Cale Yarborough. He and Blue Max teammates Emery and Miller were among the 11th class of inductees into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and Beadle was inducted earlier this year into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Detroit.

Retired as a driver since 1987 and as an owner since 1990, Beadle had dabbled in cattle and quarter horses but recently had moved back to Dallas with his wife, Roz.

Said Prudhomme of his longtime friend, “I was very sad to hear that Raymond Beadle had passed. I really, really liked the guy and admired him. We always remained close, even during the days when we were racing against each other. He did so much in drag racing and in NASCAR. He led a life that most people could only dream of, like a high-stakes gambler, and was a cool guy to be around. When our rat pack of a group got together, he was at the top of the heap. I was glad to be a buddy of his, and he is going to be missed.”

Funny Car’s winningest driver, John Force, commented, “In my long career there have been five people that I have looked up to: ‘Big Daddy’ [Don Garlits], Shirley [Muldowney], [Don] Prudhomme, [Tom] McEwen and Raymond Beadle. I have taken his passing very hard and it hurts me personally. I saw what kind of team owner and driver he was as well as what kind of creative promoter and teammate. He had the most loyal team with guys like Fred Miller, Dale Emery and Dee Gantt. They were together through good times and bad. Our legends are getting older and we have to appreciate them every day. Raymond surrounded himself with the best people and they fought together every day. That is how I have run John Force Racing every day. Loyalty is the key and so are principles. Raymond taught me that and that is why I will miss him so much. In my early days he helped me so much and I thanked him every chance I got. He was a legend and one of the best who will be missed every single day.”

Beadle is survived by his wife, Roz, son Ryan, daughters Michele Wheeler, Stacey Harris, Tara and Amber Campisi, brother Ralph Beadle and sister, Debbie Sartain.

Services will be held Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Heart & Vascular Designation. Donations can be made here: https://give.baylorhealth.com/how-to-donate/donate-online.

Read more:

NHRA Top 50 list: Raymond Beadle

Additionally, there will be a special tribute to Beadle this Friday in the Dragster Insider column.

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Huntsville Dragway $10,000 “Weekend of Wow” Results

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Huntsville, AL — You can call this a warm up race to the Million Dollar Bracket race as several racers traveled from across the country to compete in “the weekend of WOW,” a $10,000 event hosted by Huntsville Dragway. Huntsville Engine sponsored the event and…

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Watch this; KABOOM! Michael Neal’s Huge Exlposion at MRP

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Montgomery, AL — Michael Neal and Tom Ashley’s Glass Doctor team has been on a tear with the original Gone in 60 Seconds ’67 GT 500 Pro Mod Mustang. This 2004 hotrod that Mike Ashley won the NHRA championship in 2004, suffered severe damage after…

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MRP Southern Outlaw Tour Coverage and Winner Circle Photos

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Montgomery, AL — The Southern Outlaw Tour Finale at Montgomery Raceway Park was a huge success.  The event featured the Promodifieds.us Promod Southern Shootout Points finale, 5.00, 6.00, 7.00 and bracket racing. The winner’s are posted below. Michael Neal and the Glass Doctor crew defeated…

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Watch this Marriage Proposal; Drag Racer Cody Graham Pretends Car Breaks and then Proposes

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By TJ Pruitt, DragCoverage.com Publisher Huntsville, AL (10/20/2014) — You have to watch this. Cody Graham of Millington, TN pretends that his car breaks on the race track this past weekend and then proposes to his best friend, Cricket Kern. I have seen a lot…

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Mamone’s New JM Built Cuda Catches on Fire During Weekend Debut

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Montgomery, Al — Do you remember the beautiful new Cuda that we recently did an article on that was built by Joey Martin Race Cars? Well, bad news…The team debuted the hotrod at Montgomery Motorsports Park this weekend and the outcome will make you sick;…

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Bizarre Outlaw 10.5 Crash Involving Two Cars

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This has to be one of the craziest crashes that we have seen in a while and it happened this past weekend when TJ Casper lost control of his Camaro. Lou Sciortino tried to avoid the accident and ended up crashing also. Fortunately, both drivers…

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Watch this – the World’s Fastest Ford Maverick

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Tulsa, OK — Tulsa Raceway Park is preparing for the Fall throwdown this weekend will feature some of the fastest hotrods on the planet. The video below shows Scott Palmer making a shakedown run tonight in what could possibly be the world’s fastest Ford Maverick.…

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Exclusive Interview with Jamie Hancock, Drag Radial vs the World Champion

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By TJ Pruitt. Photos by Chris Sears, John Fore III, and Cole Photography. Phenix City, AL — Two weeks later and Jamie Hancock is still celebrating his latest accomplishment; winning the biggest drag radial event in the world, No Mercy V, promoted by Donald Long.…

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Travis Harvey 2014 PDRA Top Dragster World Champion

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Richmond, VA — Travis Harvey was crowned the 2014 PDRA Top Dragster World Champion this past weekend at the PDRA World Finals, Virginia Motosports Park. Harvey, who is no stranger to the winner’s circle, marched to a semi-final round and celebrated his points championship with…

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Tucker Kay Crowned IHRA Champion

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Steele, AL — Wow, what a year for Ragland, AL racer Tucker Kay. The superstar won his 4th track championship and topped it off by winning the IHRA/Nitro Jam Division 2 West Jr.Dragster championship, as the wold watched him on at Memphis International Raceway. The…

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VIDEO: Pro Mod Driver Pete Farber hits the wall in St. Louis

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Pro Mod driver Pete Farber made a hard right off the starting line and spun around to hit the wall during qualifying on Friday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. Farber walked away from the incident uninjured.

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