BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Jack Beckman will start 2014 with a new different crew chief for the third straight season, but changes in leadership haven't slowed "Fast Jack."
Beckman will be guided by veteran crew chief Rob Flynn in 2014 while assistant Terry Snyder returns. Beckman and Snyder are the only returning members of the Valvoline MaxLife team at Don Schumacher Racing.
"Except for 2006 when I came into DSR, this is the most personnel change I've ever had," Beckman said. "
Out of the 10 people on our team last year, Terry Snyder and I are the only two that left Pomona in November on the Valvoline car.
"The downside is you develop a bond with all of these people and develop a chemistry and then there's these big changes. The upside is new faces come in and it's a chance to mold the team chemistry and I'm actually super excited. It's cool because I think everybody came here for all the right reasons.
"Most of the people on this team have never worked at DSR so they are thrilled to have an opportunity to work for a world class organization and a competitive team. I think they are just as excited as I am to be in it at the ground floor."
A fresh start might be what Beckman and his team needs after 2013 when he did not visit a winner's circle for the first season since joining DSR in 2006, but the his team finished the year ranked third in points and won the prestigious $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout during the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend.
Beckman will start the new season seeking his first trophy from either of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events at Pomona, Calif., which is close to his home in Norco, Calif.
"The very first drag race I went to was at Orange County (International Raceway) not too far from Pomona. Having the opportunity to watch those cars and then walk through the pits and see these 8-foot tall people that got in these cars, as a 7-year-old child, it was really kind of a hero worship thing.
"I'm on the other side of the ropes now. But I never forgot the huge impact it had on me. A lot of times, as drivers, there are some relatively small gestures that we can do that can make a huge effect on a child and even on adults."
Don Schumacher Racing