R.I.P. J.E. Beard - Championship Driver, Championship Engine Builder

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
06/09/16 03:14:55PM
8,968 posts

We lost one of racing's really talented folks on D-Day when Bailey, North Carolina native J.E. Beard passed. Cancer finally beat the guy his competitors couldn't.

J.E. was both a championship driver and engine builder whose motors won at Darlington and back to back at the Daytona 500.

I first encountered J.E. driving a 6-cylinder car around 1973 on the dirt at Wilson County Speedway. The car was distinctive because on its rear deck was the drawing of a mule with a hind leg raised and the cartoon caption, "BAD AIR."

J.E. would go on to become Late Model champion at Wilson battling Al Grinnan, Mutt Powell and Bud Elliott among other great dirt stars of the 70s.

J.E.'s talents got him onto the asphalt where he competed at Cumberland International, Trico andCaraway in his familiar #59 carrying the Jack Tant Automotive wing. He was also successful at Martinsville against the best of the best. His #22 Mitchell Bros. Supermarket car won best appearing car at Clay Earles' Virginia oval.

I was privileged to be in victory lane at Darlington representing Oldsmobile Division when Lake Speed scored his only career Winston Cup win in a car powered by a J.E. Beard engine at the 1988 TranSouth 500. Later J.E. would work out of the Morgan-McClure stable in Abingdon, Virginia where his hands were involved with the engines that carried Sterling Marlin to back-to-back Daytona wins in the #4 Kodak ride.

R.I.P., J.E. You kicked up a heck of a rooster tail on the Wilson County dirt.

J.E.'s wife, Barbara is a member here at RR.

John "JE" Edsel Beard III Obituary

Date of Birth:

Sunday, November 13th, 1949

Date of Death:

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Funeral Home:

Frost Funeral Home
250 East Main Street
P.O. Box 948
Abingdon, Virginia, UNITED STATES
24212-0948

Obituary:

After a year long battle with cancer, JE as he was known to all his friends, died peacefully at home surrounded by family and loved ones. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Jean and Edsel Beard, a daughter, Stacey Beard, his grandson, Kevin Dale Beard. He is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Barbara, son Kevin and wife Debbie, his sisters Sherry Beard Tant and Jimmy, Kay Beard and Greg Nelson. His grandchildren, Sierra, Heather, Brittany and Tyler and special fur babies, Petey and Pepper.

Growing up in Bailey, NC, JE was known for his athleticism, and was a standout basketball player for Bailey High School for four years. His skills earned him a scholarship to Louisburg College, which he declined to follow his true passion, which he had inherited from his fathers racing career. Through the early and mid 70s, he first started driving for Root Perry. Next came Herman Sadler then partnering and driving with Wayne Collie and his father, JE dominated the local racing scene. One of his greatest memories was of a challenged race against Dale Earnhardt in Fayetteville, NC, which would have earned a slot in the Charlotte 500. JE started on the inside pole and lead every lap, only to be passed by Dale at the finish line. Although disappointed they remained lifelong friends. Even though his driving skills were legendary in NC and VA racing communities, it was his ability to build racing engines that took him to Charlotte and NASCAR. Under the tutelage of Jack Tant, he gained the knowledge and ability to build race engines that could compete and win at the NASCAR level. During his career he built engines for such NASCAR notables as Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty and in 1988 with Lake Speed winning his first NASCAR race at the Transouth 500 at Darlington SC. However, his proudest accomplishment came after a move to Abingdon, VA and joining the Morgan McClure Racing Team and being recognized for his work on the engines used by Sterling Marlin in his Back to Back Daytona 500 wins. For this he received two Daytona 500 rings, the first of which he gifted to his father. Over the years there were many articles of JE written in racing publications and he appeared in several NASCAR documentaries but with all the accolades he always remained humble and a true friend to anyone he ever met, especially his little buddy Stevie Eatmon.

A celebration of JE's life will be held at a later date.

Because of his love for animals, in lieu of flowers, the family ask that donations be made to: Highlands Stray Fund, VCA Highland Animal Hospital, 25011 Lee Hwy, Abingdon, VA 24211 (276) 628-4115.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 12/05/16 04:02:07PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
06/09/16 05:14:35PM
8,968 posts

J.E. and Barbara's RR page:. http://stockcar.racersreunion.com/profile/BarbaraAnne?xg_source=profiles_memberList




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
06/09/16 05:42:13PM
490 posts

R.I.P. J.E. BEARD,

DAVE, THANKS FOR THE J.E. BEARD'S RACE HISTORY TRIBUTE.

JE & Barbara
@je-barbara
06/09/16 07:08:56PM
3 posts

Dave,

Thank you for a wonderful tribute, I know that JE would have enjoyed it and remembering all the special times.

One change needs to be made, Sherry Beard-Tant is married to Jimmy Tant of Wilson, NC and Jack Tant has no relation to Jimmy.I must add that Jimmy is the one who wrote the most extraordinary and heartfelt obituary's I have every read and I want tothank him for the gift he gave me.

Jack& VirginiaTanthas been here for usthroughout JE's illness and we are very glad that we have stayed in touch and been part of our familyall the years.

Our thanks to all of you in the racing community for your prayers during this time and for his many fans that continue to remember the good days of racing.

Barbara Beard and family

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
06/09/16 08:58:03PM
8,968 posts

Thank you for the correction and sincerest condolences to you and your loved ones.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
JE & Barbara
@je-barbara
06/09/16 09:30:15PM
3 posts

Dave,

Thank you for remembering JE. Kevin, is son and sister's was here looking at your tribute and all the memories came rushing back. They laughed and it was so good for them and especially Kevin, he would said, I was at that one andO I remember that one and watching them was wonderful for me.

My thanks to you for bring smiles to our home during this time.

Barbara Beard

NCMarrk
@ncmarrk
06/11/16 12:08:37PM
77 posts

RIP Mr JE Beard.

JE & Barbara
@je-barbara
06/12/16 11:24:40AM
3 posts

Thank you for this picture, I have left a message for Herman Sadler to let him know about JE. This will be a great pic for him to remember also.

Barbara Beard and Family

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
04/12/17 12:13:22AM
490 posts

DAVE, THANKS FOR THE J.E. BEARD'S RACE HISTORY TRIBUTE.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va.