"With a six-month postponement of the Tournament of Champions from October 2009 to April of this year, I didn't immediately realize that I had really won both in the same year. I checked with drag racing historian Bret Kepner, and he believes that it's the first time that anyone has won both major championships in the same year, so that's a really special feeling," says Seagrove, North Carolina racer Michael Beard.
K&N Filters have been riding with Beard since he won the 2003 IHRA Stock World Championship in his rookie year
Beard hoists the big check overhead after winning his second IHRA Stock World Championship by defeating an all-star cast in the long-postponed IHRA Tournament of Champions at Rockingham Dragway
Beard won his second IHRA Stock World Championship by defeating an all-star cast in the long-postponed IHRA Tournament of Champions, held at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina. The 2009 IHRA World Championships were left up in the air last fall when the World Finals suffered through day after day of severe weather, leading to the postponement of the all-important shootout. The achievement clearly makes Beard the first to capture both a Bracket Finals Championship and World Championship in the same year.
"They're hard enough to win individually," remarked Beard. "I won the NHRA Division 1 Bracket Finals in 1994, and I'll never forget a teammate telling me, 'man - you really have to enjoy this, because you know you'll never win another one.'" A clear reminder that you should always resist putting too much weight on compliments and criticism coming from friends.
"Winning the IHRA Division 2 East Bracket Finals in October was exhilarating, and a relief all at the same time. Capping that off now with my second IHRA Stock World Championship is priceless."
Beard says that moving to the Carolinas five years ago may have been one of his best racing decisions ever, because he can run over 55 races a year now, and there's no substitute for seat time.
"This year, I've been footbraking in the Box class off and on, which has forced me to be even sharper. I even won Top ET at Rockingham back in March. I raced at the K&N Spring Fling 20's at Bristol against all the Box cars the week before, and I really think it made all the difference in the Tournament of Champions. Couple all of that with only the best products for your race car like K&N, and you have an absolutely proven winning combination."
"K&N Filters have been riding with me since I won the '03 IHRA Stock World Championship my rookie year. I've been using the X-Stream Top air filter on all my race cars for years, and rely on K&N's wrench-off filter on the racecars and my tow vehicle. I also use a K&N stock replacement air filter on the truck. K&N is about more than just quality products, though. There are quality people that stand behind them. Bob Harris and the crew at K&N have always been as supportive as family - and that means a lot."
When we noticed that Beard had Jill, his wife, listed last in his "people to thank section" we wondered if he would care to amend for that.
"My wife had to work on Friday, when we were running the Tournament of Champions. She missed the Championship win and the awards ceremony that night, but she told me to 'Just go win on Sunday.' She was there the rest of the weekend. I listened, and it was great to have her there when I won Stock again on Sunday for the IHRA Spring Nitro Jam! She's 100 percent supportive, whether she's at the track or not."
Winning the World Championship has forced Beard to make some impromptu scheduling adjustments however.
"The Top 5 in the World are not eligible to compete at the Bracket Finals, so I can't even attempt to defend that title. I had planned to try to qualify for the Bracket Finals in two, or even three different divisions, but now I will shift my focus toward running more Pro-Ams, Nitro Jams, and big-money bracket races."
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