August 11, 1991. Watkins Glen, New York. 52-year-old John Delphus J.D. McDuffie, Jr. climbs aboard his No. 70 Pontiac, lined up 35th on the grid for NASCARs Budweiser at the Glen. For the 653rd time, he pinches a cigar between his teeth and fires the engine. Few take notice of No. 70 as it rolls onto the 2.428-mile road course - only a small group of volunteers, fans, and family back home in Sanford, North Carolina. Even they knew McDuffie had never won a NASCAR race, and likely never would before the big-money teams squeezed him out of the sport. But no one knew that just five laps later, McDuffie would be dead, killed in a terrible two-car accident with fellow racer Jimmy Means. J.D.: The Life and Death of a Forgotten NASCAR Legend tells the true story of J.D. McDuffie, one of stock car racings most beloved owner-drivers. Its the tale of a man who honed his skills as a mechanic and built his own team from the ground-up, his No. 70 banging fenders with the likes of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Its also about the close-knit group of supporters who came together to make sure McDuffie made it to the track in a rapidly-changing sport. And its about that tragic weekend at Watkins Glen, the investigation that followed, and the legacy hes left behind. Top to bottom, its one of the most comprehensive stories of any race car driver, and a tribute to NASCARs blue-collar past.
In 2001, college freshman Brock Beard arrived at the University of California at Irvine as a walk-on athlete for the Mens Rowing Team. Despite a complete lack of athletic experience, three years later, he had earned the two-seat in the Junior Varsity Eight, a boat which won four races at four different venues. Having graduated as a four-year scholar-athlete with honors in UCIs prestigious Humanities Honors Program, Beard went on to earn his Juris Doctor from John F. Kennedy University with a Witkin Award in Constitutional Law. As he continues to write his own underdog story, Beard has set to work writing those of others, particularly in his favorite arena of professional stock car racing. Since 2009, Beards website LASTCAR.info has told the story of NASCARs last-place finishers and lesser-known competitors. Beards unique work, featuring statistics he researched from thousands of race results, has been featured on NASCAR.com, SPEED Channel, RaceTalkRadio.com, Manifold Destiny with Mojo Nixon, and the PETM Podcast. Hes also reported trackside for LASTCAR.info during NASCAR events, and in 2013 worked with the Sonoma Raceways marketing department. He resides in Antioch, California.