Year Inducted: 2018
Nominated By: Tracy Renck
Sports Competed In: Drag Racing
Athlete, Coach or Contributor: Contributor
Attended Pueblo Central High School graduating in 1975...Lee was introduced to the sport of drag racing by his former high school industrial arts teach Ed Renck.
Beard picked up an industrial arts degree in 1975 from the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo).
● Beard tuned the late Gary Ormsby to an NHRA Top Fuel title in 1989.
● In 1992, Beard won a world championship as team manager of Larry Minor Motorsports when Cruz Pedregon captured the nitro Funny Car title. He also was the team manager at Don Schumacher Racing when Tony Schumacher was the Top Fuel champ in 2009.
● During his decorated career, Beard amassed 55 NHRA national event wins with 12 different drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Beard is Crew Chief in the NHRA to win national events in Top Fuel and Funny Car with 12 different drivers. Six of those were first-time winners.
● Beard's first NHRA national event win as a crew chief came in 1980 when he guided Jerry Ruth to the Top Fuel title at the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.
● Beard actually has won national events with 14 different drivers in his career. Beard's last two wins came in 2016 and 2017 as he guided Larry Dixon and Dom Lagana to wins in Australia while working for Santo Rapisarda.
● Beard has set the National Records for both Elapsed Time and Top Speed in both Top Fuel and Funny Car multiple times. He also is the Australian National Record Holder and holds the record for the quickest run outside of America when Larry Dixon clocked a 4.50-second elapsed time at Willowbank Raceway near Brisbane, Australia.
● Beard and legendary racer/crew chief, the late Dale Armstrong are the only two crew chiefs in NHRA history to have seen their race cars join the exclusive 4-second and 300-mile clubs in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, win a Championship, and be named Crew Chief of the Year & Person of the Year by Car Craft magazine.
Additional accomplishments for Beard:
1991: Winning 2 out of 5 races with rookie driver Pat Austin in the Castrol GTX Top Fuel Dragster 1992: Winning the U.S. Nationals with Ed "The Ace" McCulloch in the McDonald's Top Fuel Dragster and Cruz Pedregon in the McDonald's Funny Car.
1996: Winning the U.S. Nationals with Cory McClenethan in the Joe Gibbs McDonald's Top Fuel Dragster.
1998: Winning 4 NHRA National Events and the Winston $100,000 race with Kenny Bernstein in the Budweiser Top Fuel Dragster.
2001-2004: Winning 12 National Events, 19 #1 Qualifying positions, the 2001 US Nationals and 2 Championship runner ups with Whit Bazmore in the Mateo Tools Funny Car.
2005: Winning in the 2nd race with the upstart David Powers Team with rookie Driver Hot Rod Fuller in the Valvoline Top Fuel Dragster.
2008: Beard convinced David Powers to gamble on a 16-time pro stock motorcycle winner, Antron Brown who had never driven Top Fuel before. With Beards tutelage Brown went on to win two National events, five final round appearances, and a top 5 finish in his rookie year.
2009-2011: Beard served as Team Manager for Don Schumacher Racing. Working with 6 DSR teams, taking them to the next level by forming a relationship with IUPUI Engineering. He oversaw projects like in-house parts manufacturing, fabrication and design of race car chassis. Also working on Chrysler Wind Tunnel projects and the 2 complete Top Fuel operations for Yas Marina.
● Career-best Elapsed Time (TF) 4.493 (Rod Fuller - Dallas, 2005).
● Career-best E.T. (FC) 4.704 (Whit Bazemore - Chicago, 2004).
● Career-best MPH (TF) 331.94 (Antron Brown - St. Louis, 2008).
● Career-best MPH (FC) 333.25 (Whit Bazemore - Chicago, 2004).
● Career-best Elapsed Time (TF) 3.76 (Steve Torrence, Sonoma, Calif., 2013).
● Career-best ET (FC) 3.99 (Cruz Pedregon - Reading, Pa., 2012).
● Career-best MPH (TF) 328.92 ( Steve Torrence, Indianapolis, 2013).
● Career-best MPH (FC) 319.00 (Cruz Pegregon, Pomona, Calif., 2012).
2014: Spent the season being a consultant for NHRA.
2016: Was inducted into the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
2018: Consultant for Lex Joan Racing's Top Fuel team.
Founder and Director of Twist Flyfishing Destinations.
Beard was born in Pueblo, CO and lived in Pueblo for 27 years...He currently resides in Silverthorne, CO with his wife Joyce.
Photo courtesy of LinkedIn