Baytown: Jack Beckman preview

BECKMAN BUOYED BY VALDOSTA TESTING, HEADS TO HOUSTON NORTH HILLS, Calif. (March 27, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman and the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team made their way to South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta, Ga.,...

BECKMAN BUOYED BY VALDOSTA TESTING, HEADS TO HOUSTON

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (March 27, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman and the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team made their way to South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta, Ga., for a test session following a surprise DNQ at the Gatornationals last week and in preparation for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend at Houston Raceway Park.

According to Beckman, the test was a success and he and the MTS team expect strong results this weekend, in the fourth round of the 23-event 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

"We had a great test," he said. "We are now the track record holder. It was fantastic. We made it down the race track in six out of seven runs, and we set both ends of their track record: 4.853 seconds at 324 mph. It's officially the quickest and fastest anyone has ever gone at that race track.

"Honest to God, the car was like a bracket car. It was great. It did everything (assistant crew chief) Phil (Shuler) and (crew chief) Todd (Okuhara) wanted it to do. We actually could test a couple of things to see how they affected the tune-up. So, it was huge.

"And I think it was the most beneficial for me," added Beckman, who will compete in only his ninth career Funny Car event this weekend in Houston. "Just getting a lot of repetition at the same track in a short period of time is very valuable.

"I've never raced at Houston. I've been there for work with the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School, and it seems like a first-class facility. We did the Pro Stock reaction time clinic there, so I have been there a couple of times. The last time was probably in 2004.

"The neat thing about this year is getting to race at a lot of venues that I haven't raced at before, and this is one of them. Again, it's still part of the learning curve. Each track has its idiosyncrasies. They say Houston can be a little finicky at times, not unlike Gainesville, and we saw how tough Gainesville was, especially on the nitro Funny Cars.

"But, all things considered, we kind of got two runs behind in Gainesville because we had to unload a different chassis and it turned out it wanted a little different clutch setup than the last one, so I think that we were good to go on run four in Gainesville qualifying, and now I know after all the testing at Valdosta that Todd and Phil know exactly what the car wants."

Beckman continues to mourn the loss of fellow Funny Car racer Eric Medlen, who succumbed to injuries following a crash during Monday testing in Gainesville: "When you think about it, it brings tears to your eyes," he said when he heard the news. "Eric was wonderful. He came out to the Hawley school. Frank got him his alcohol license, so we had become good friends. When I was going through cancer, Eric gave me a nice get-well comment on one of the national-event coverages. There isn't anybody over at the John Force operation I don't love and Eric was right there."

MTS 'MAIL FROM HOME' PROGRAM UPDATE:
Mail Terminal Services will be featuring Camp TAQADDAM (a Marine base) at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in its "Mail from Home" program. Postcards will be available to send to this war-zone camp at the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area as well as at a kiosk in the U.S. Army Interactive area, located in Nitro Alley.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Jack Beckman , Eric Medlen , Frank Hawley