Max Funny Car Crashes During Lakeland Run
Raymond Beadle's 1977 version of his famed Blue
Max AA funny car is said to be faster and more powerful than its
predecessor. But Beadle's crew retained the 1976 car as a backup. It's
time to pull out the spare car. Beadle one of the nation's best known
funny car drivers, was at the wheel of his new Blue Max yesterday at
Lakeland International Raceway when the $35,000 car flipped end-over-end
twice and rolled on its side three other times before coming to a rest in
a rain-soaked field.
Beadle, who was involved in a
one-on-one duel with 'TV' Tommy Ivo in a feature race in the
International Hot Rod Association's National title series at
Lakeland, was taken to St. Joseph's East where he declined
treatment. "He was discharged without really being seen,"
said a hospital spokesman. "He told us he felt all right."
The Texas-born Beadle had just crossed the finish line at a speed of
230 mph. He had the victory in what was supposed to be the first of
three duels. According to Ivo, Beadle's chute failed to open.
"He was still going fast at the split," said Ivo, who said
he had cut his speed down to "50 or 60" mph as he watched
Beadle cross the finish line. "Then it looked like he (Beadle)
veered to miss the (track) divider. "The car flipped pretty
bad. I set off the (protective) fire bottles to get out the escape
hatch (of my car) and get to him first. One thing that worked good
is the field was soft from the rain."
Ivo's car is equipped with two safety chutes,
while Beadle has one. The car landed upside down in the field well out of
the view of the spectators who gathered for LIR's first race of the 1977
season. Beadle, who makes his home in Dallas, had said his new car is
capable of 240 mph with an elapsed time over the quarter-mile at :05.90.
The soft-spoken Beadle, appearing in only the third points race of the
1977 Winston national titles series, is one of the nation's most durable
drivers. He was booked in 80 match races last year, 84 in 1974 and 85 in
1973. His 1977 entry has been fitted with a new body and paint design. The
light-weight fiberglass body remains a replica of a Ford Mustang II, while
the engine features an aluminum block with replaceable cylinder sleeves.
It burns potent nitro methane fuel, which is run in amounts as high as 98
The mammoth 17- by 34-inch tires on Beadle's car
left the ground twice during the spectacular crash. "It shook him
up," said Bill Taylor, one of the track owners. "Most people
didn't see it since it happened after he'd already crossed the finish
line." For Beadle and the Blue Max' owner, Harry Schmidt, yesterday's
race will be their only Mid-South appearance this year. Beadle, whose fee
is said to be $2,500 a day, will remember his first and only Lakeland
stop. Taylor said Beadle's speed eclipsed the track record, as did his
:06.40 elapsed time. Yesterday's rain finally hit with 26 cars still in
the running for national points. The drivers were forced to split the
points and prize money since the race can not be made up. The two days of
racing attracted 3,400 fans.