charlie beard

Charlie Beard, left, and James Vernon before a race at Kern County Raceway Park in July 2105. Beard, who helped build the track along with Vernon, died May 21 at the age of 77.

By JENNIFER SELF/jself@bakersfield.com

For a racetrack, it was slow going during the construction of Kern County Raceway Park — that is until Charlie Beard got involved. The Taft businessman, who died May 21 at age 77, told The Californian in 2013 how he became primary owner of the 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,” he said.

Beard, who owned General Production Service, got involved in the track after James Vernon and Daniel Smith began resurrecting the long dormant and partially finished track in 2012.

“I can say it has nothing to do with General Production, but if it wasn’t for General Production this track would not be here, because that's what gave us the money to come in here and do what we've done,” Beard said.

Since opening the track Beard had been instrumental in growing the facility, first by the addition of a motocross track in the northwest corner and most recently the completion of a dirt track to the east of the MX track.

“He had a vision and he really loved putting on these events,” said KCRP president Lee Baumgartner. “He’ll surely be missed for that. He was the catalyst that held us all together.”

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