Autobiography, Biography, History, Motor-Sports

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 NASCAR’s 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 racing’s most beloved owner-drivers. It’s 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. It’s 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 it’s about that tragic weekend at Watkins Glen, the investigation that followed, and the legacy he’s left behind. Top to bottom, it’s one of the most comprehensive stories of any race car driver, and a tribute to NASCAR’s blue-collar past.

In 2001, college freshman Brock Beard arrived at the University of California at Irvine as a walk-on athlete for the Men’s 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 UCI’s 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, Beard’s website has told the story of NASCAR’s last-place finishers and lesser-known competitors. Beard’s unique work, featuring statistics he researched from thousands of race results, has been featured on, SPEED Channel,, Manifold Destiny with Mojo Nixon, and the PETM Podcast. He’s also reported trackside for during NASCAR events, and in 2013 worked with the Sonoma Raceway’s marketing department. He resides in Antioch, California.