Valvoline's 'Fast Jack' leads DSR Funny Car contingent at Bristol and no one prouder than driver's father 'Slow Bob'
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 16, 2012) - Valvoline NextGen Funny Car driver calls himself "Fast" Jack Beckman, and that's why his dad calls himself "Slow" Bob Beckman.
The duo are characters in their own right, and each is happy to be able to spend Father's Day together Sunday at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee where the younger Beckman is qualified third for championship eliminations of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
The older Beckman, who lives in Arlington, Texas, travels to about eight of his son's races each year - occasionally riding there on his motorcycle - and they have shared a winner's circle celebration before.
But never on Father's Day.
"I know he loves everything about being out here with me and I know he's very proud of me," Jack said Saturday after leading the quartet of four Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars through four rounds of qualifying.
"It's been neat to get a chance to share the spotlight with him when he's been at a race we've won.
"He's 75 now. It would be tremendously significant to do something real special with him on Father's Day. But you know what, whether we win or not on Sunday the important thing is we're getting to hang out together on Father's Day."
Jack is quick to acknowledge he probably wouldn't be a professional racer were it not for his dad.
"My dad is a hot rodder. We have Hot Rod magazines from 1951. He grew up in Cumberland, Md., where as a young kid he became fascinated with cars and started to work on them."
That was in the early 1950s when rodders relied on junkyards and ingenuity for making horsepower.
"There hardly were any speed shops back then and performance parts so he would go and get a big motor to put into a lighter car," Jack said. "He goes back to the earliest days of drag racing.
"I know he wanted to pursue a career around motorsports and the automotive aftermarket. But he found work with Lockheed that paid well, got married and they had me and my brother after moving to California.
"He started a family and had to put his racing hopes and dreams aside."
Today, Slow Bob gets to race again and he will also help Fast Jack deal with another Father's day away from son Jason, 5, and 10-month-old daughter Layla.
"The tough aspect of this job clearly is the travel and being away from family," Jack said. "It's harder on my wife (Jenna) because I'm leaving her at home with two small children. I respect and appreciate what she does.
"But I have a wonderful job because it's something I'm passionate about.
"You deal with the travel. When I'm at work, I need to be focused on work and when I'm at home I can be completely focused on Jason, Layla and Jenna.
"I'm grateful I have the type of job that allows me to be with them so much."
And Slow Bob is just happy to spend another Father's Day with his son as they try to win another NHRA title together.