One of drag racing's pioneers, who came right her from Porterville, has died.
Tim Beebe, a Porterville reident, died at the age of 80 on May 24. Beebe had a long, distinguished career in drag racing in various capacities and was inducted into the International Drag Racing Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
Tim Beebe was also known as a successful businessman in Porterville, establishing the well know business, B & B Transmissions.
He was first introduced to racing by his father, Merrill Beebe, who raced midgets and sprint cars. Beebe's first car was a 1953 Oldsmobile and he began modifying the car and taking it to drag races. Beebe followed his Olds with a 1956 Chevy that he raced with some success.
Beebe eventually became involved with the highly modified part of drag racing when he teamed up with Frank Fedak on an Altered Flat powered by Beebe's carbureted small block Chevy engine and driven by John Mulligan. Beebe and Mulligan went on to form a legendary team. At that time their car was a class contender and paved the way for future success.
Next came an Altered Bantam Roadster powered by a Chevy engine out of a Fiat and driven by Beebe's brother, Dave Beebe. Tim Beebe eventually made the move to AA/Fuel Dragsters.
In the mid-1960s, Tim Beebe became a full-time race car mechanic/crew chief/owner and teamed up with his brother Dave and Lee Sixt to for m the highly successful Beebe Brothers and Sixt Top Fuel Dragster team with Dave doing the driving.
When Dave Beebe decided in 1967 he could no longer be the driver, he suggest Mulligan take over. That led to the formation of the legendary Beebe and Mulligan AA/FD team. They are counted among the original touring pros of drag racing.
At the 1969 National Hot Rod Association Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., the Beebe and Mulligan car beat Don Prudhomme in the final round to win the event. Later that year, Tim and John ran two-tenth of a second quicker than the rest of the entire field at the NHRA Nationals in Indy to set a new elapsed time record at 6.43 seconds. Unfortunately, in the first round of eliminations there was a fiery crash in which John lost his life.
The following year Tim and Dave built the Beebe Brothers AA/FC team and spent the entire season racing in Southern California. At the last points race at Orange County Raceway they set a new NHRA Elapsed Time record and secured an invitation to the 1970 World Finals.
In 1971 Tim built the legendary “Fighting Irish” Funny Car and hired Dick Roseberg to drive, In 1973 Tim returnd to AA/FD competition when he teamed up with Jim Murphy to run a rear engine Top Fuel dragster. The highlight of the 1974 season for the pair was winning the UDRA Championship.
In 1975 Tim decided to retire from racing and moved to Porterville where he went to work at B & J Transmissions that at that time was building one of the more successful automatic transmissions used in drag racing. Tim them opened B & B Transmissions in Porterville.
He came out of retirement in 2001 when he rejoined Murphy as crew chief for Murphy's WW2 Racing effort in the nostalgia Top Fuel competition. With Tim as crew chief, the WW2 Racing team had a number of event wins and set a top speed record of 256 mph and an elapsed time record of 5.71 seconds.
The team also won the VRA Fuel & Gas Championship in 2004. among his other awards and records, Tim won the Car Craft Magazine Top Fuel Dragster Crew Chief of the Year award in 1969 and 1970.
Tim is one of the few in drag racing who has been successful in both fuel classes, Top Fuel and Funny Car.