Irwindale Event Center and Team 211 Entertainment are saddened to acknowledge the passing Charlie Beard, the primary owner of Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield.
"His enthusiasm and great pride in the KCRP project was evident from the first day that we met," said IEC/211 CEO Jim Cohan. "Charlie piled us all into his SUV and off we went, right up on to the high groove of the raceway over looking turn 2. It was a little bit of an adventure getting up there, but Charlie thought that it would give us the best sense of the project. He really loved that place!"
Beard, a local businessman who originally had visited the track to enquire about leasing a luxury suite for his company's use and who very quickly found himself a vital part of the ownership team, died this past Saturday after a short illness. His passing was received with very heavy hearts when it was announced at the beginning of Saturday night's Spears SRL Southwest Tour race at his track.
"I did not get involved in this to be a race guy, I got involved in the dang thing by buying that suite up there and then started building buildings here (the race car shops adjacent to the track) then got to seeing how slow it was going," Beard had said in an Bakersfield Californian article written about the opening of the track some three years ago. Beard's joining the ownership team shifted the project into high gear and quickly got it moving ahead to completion.
Even though he claimed not to be a "race guy", Beard quickly became totally involved with the original oval track project and continued to improve the track's offerings ... shepherding the addition of a motocross track and a very popular dirt track thus broadening and adding to the appeal of the facility.
"He had a vision and he really loved putting on these events," Track President/GM Lee Baumgartner was quoted as saying in the Bakersfield Californian. "He'll surely be missed for that. He was the catalyst that held us all together. He liked to get his hands dirty and be right there in the planning and then the construction of any project. He was right there up front, loving every minute of it."
And about the track itself and its future, Baumgartner was further quoted as saying: "It's not going anywhere ... it won't affect the operation. He (meaning Charlie) would not even want it to slow down. He'd be disappointed that we even stumbled and slowed down. He had a great heart. We just loved him. He'll be really missed."