- Thursday 29 August, 2013
Top Northeast Nitro/Jet Driver and Wrench
The drag race community lost a great man this past weekend. Bob Beaulieu, Windsor, CT, has been involved in professional drag racing for many decades starting as a wrench for Bill Flynn on the ‘Yankee Peddler” Dodge, Jim Maybeck’s “Screaming Eagle”, Tim Kushi’s “Yankee Sizzler” Dodge Challenger, and, of course, as crew chief for Al Hanna, and the “Eastern Raider” series of Nitro Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters.
Bob also drove a number of drag race machines including the “Eastern Raider” Top Fuel dragster in the later 70’s. In the early ‘80’s, Bob made the decision to move to the jet funny car category and proceeded to field the “Jazz” jet funny car, the fastest and quickest jet funny car for many years in the ‘80’s. Bob fielded “Jazz” jet funny cars through the early 2000’s.
Behind the scenes, Bob was always available to diagnose the toughest of problems in all the categories. “He was, by far, the best pure mechanic I ever knew”, quoted Al Hanna of Hanna Motorsports. “There was never a mechanical problem presented to Bobby B that he couldn’t figure out. He was incredible. We have all lost a master mechanic and a true lover of racing.”
Bob was also an avid fisherman, having a series of his own boats and captaining a huge 60 ft fishing craft for one of his associates. He loved participating in all competitions including deep sea shark fishing tournaments, where he often took top prizes. Bob’s favorite saying was “If it doesn’t go 200 MPH or you can’t fish off it, it’s not worth a “$!@&*(^$%#$#*()”.
“Top Fuel Bobby” or “Bob Jazz” as his closest friends called him was always a phone call or a quick ride away from solving every problem he was asked about. He will be dearly missed. His most recent project was involvement with the new and radical “Queen of Diamonds II” 300 MPH Jet Dragster of the Hanna Motorsports team. He loved the concept, and was working closely behind the scenes with the team on the new design.
Bob leaves his dear wife Joyce, of more than 40 years, his son Eric, and his daughter Teresa, and, of course, his 3 grandkids.