Veteran NHRA racer Chuck Beal, a NHRA national event winner in Top Alcohol Funny Car and, more recently, a car owner and mentor to grandson Brandon Welch in nitro Funny Car, died July 13 of complications from a heart procedure. He was 74.
Beal began his racing career in dragsters in 1966, running both gas- and alcohol-burning dragsters until the late 1970s, when he switched to Alcohol Funny Car.
He won back-to-back Winternationals titles in 1982 and ’83, scored multiple event wins in Division 6 and 7 competition, and was a popular and successful match racer. His battles with Brad Anderson and others for West Coast supremacy were legendary.
After a high-speed crash at the 1991 Winternationals destroyed his Alcohol Funny Car, Beal made the jump to the nitro ranks in 1994 and qualified consistently during a number of limited campaigns.
In 2012, Beal began helping his grandson, Welch, launch his nitro Funny Car career, tutoring him and helping him get his license. The two made their official debut at the 2015 fall Las Vegas event and ran eight races together in 2016, working around setbacks in Beal’s medical condition while continuing to learn and invest in new and better equipment.
Beal is survived by his wife, KB, daughters Teri Porlas and Kymi Green; grandsons Tyson and Dylon Porlas, and Brandon Welch.