NORWALK, Ohio --
>From industry trade shows to sold-out monster truck arenas, IHRA's new class of champions certainly haven't been sitting idle this offseason. Just ask Super Stock World Champion Michael Beard and Top ET World Champion Tim Butler.
When he isn't racing nearly every warm, dry weekend of the year, Beard is probably thinking about racing, or dreaming about racing or at the very least, preparing to think about racing.
But when Beard was asked to represent the IHRA by putting his car on display at the Hall of Champions at the International Motorsports Industry Show in Indianapolis this past December, even he was taken aback by the honor.
"The IMIS show at Indy was a great opportunity. My car was in the same row as Antron Brown and I got to congratulate him on his Top Fuel title," Beard said. "By being there all week I met a lot of drivers and had plenty of time to peruse the entire show floor. I even had some important conversations with some of the great supporters in our industry."
Beard had his Duck Tape-sponsored Volare on display at the Hall of Champions alongside championship winning racecars from nearly every motorsports discipline. From dirt tracks to NASCAR to the IHRA, it was quite an exciting time for the recently relocated racer now calling Ohio home. And to cap his incredible weekend, Beard even had an opportunity to speak at the National Speed Sport News panel discussion alongside other representatives from the sport.
"It was a great experience and something I won't soon forget," Beard said. "Now it is back to thinking about racing. My dad always reminded me that this is a 'what have you done for me lately' sport, so it is more of just plowing ahead and trying to improve both yourself and the car in 2013."
The last place on earth you would expect to see Tim Butler is behind the wheel of something on dirt at, of all things, a monster truck show.
But that is exactly where Butler found himself this past weekend at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida as Butler debuted his newly acquired American Race Cars dragster backed by Summit Racing Equipment and powered by a Trick Flow Specialties Chevrolet big block engine he won at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals by winning the Top class World Championship.
Butler, from nearby Sarasota, Florida, brought his Summit SuperSeries prize dragster to the Tampa Monster Jam to promote the Bradenton Nitro Jam taking place at Bradenton Motorsports Park the weekend of April 19-20. Butler's dragster was featured during the Monster Jam Pit Party outside the stadium and later was rolled into the stadium and fired up during prerace festivities. Butler was even interviewed in front of the tens of thousands of race fans in attendance where he had an opportunity to talk about his big win, the upcoming Nitro Jam and the great people at Summit Racing Equipment.
"What a great show and tremendous exposure for the IHRA, the Nitro Jam at Bradenton Motorsports Park and, of course, all of the sponsors on the Summit dragster," Butler said. "We were parked next to Grave Digger and the line for autographs literally wrapped around us. We talked to the fans, handed out hero cards and talked about the upcoming Nitro Jam at Bradenton which was really cool.
"Then we pushed the Summit dragster out into the infield of Raymond James Stadium for opening ceremonies. On command from the official we fired the motor and revved it several times. The crowd absolutely loved it."