Brainerd: Jack Beckman preview

Beckman brings colorful resume into Brainerd race BRAINERD, Minn. --Have helmet will travel. That's the unofficial motto of "Fast Jack" Beckman. In a four-week span, the former NHRA sportsman champion and current Top Fuel rookie plans to race...

Beckman brings colorful resume into Brainerd race

BRAINERD, Minn. --Have helmet will travel. That's the unofficial motto of "Fast Jack" Beckman. In a four-week span, the former NHRA sportsman champion and current Top Fuel rookie plans to race four vastly different cars including the Menards/Mail Terminal Services Top Fuel dragster, which he will pilot at this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. A week ago, Beckman drove Dennis Murphy's front-engine A/Fuel nostalgia dragster, and two weeks from now he plans to pull double duty, driving a pair of Funny Cars in a match race event in Tucson, Ariz.

Racing nearly every weekend, and driving a number of different cars is consistent with Beckman's belief that when it comes to driving -- more is better. As an instructor at Frank Hawley's NHRA Drag Racing School in Pomona, it's a concept that Beckman constantly preaches to his students.

"The Menards/MTS Top Fuel team doesn't run all the races, but the reality is that I probably get more seat time than anyone else," said Beckman. "I honestly believe that mental preparedness is far more important than physical ability when it comes to driving a race car. Being able to drive a variety of cars, each with different transmissions, controls, and handling characteristics, can only help make someone a better racer. It demonstrates flexibility and agility.

"Plus," he adds. "I just love driving."

Beckman has driven more cars than he can remember in his career, but it's no surprise that his favorite ride is behind the wheel of Dexter Tuttle's Menards/Mail Terminal Services Top Fuel dragster. In six starts this season, Beckman has advanced to the semifinals once and has a pair of quarterfinal finishes to his credit. Under the guidance of crew chief Jimmy Walsh, he's also recorded a career best 4.60 run at over 322-mph.

"As much as I love driving all different types of cars, nothing can compare to the rush of driving the Menards/MTS Top Fuel car," he said. "It is in a class by itself and there's very little you can do to adequately prepare yourself for a four-second, 320-mph run."

Beckman has other far more personal reasons to enjoy driving race cars. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma two years ago and spent much of the 2004 season undergoing chemotherapy treatments. He was informed in early 2005 that his cancer was in remission and a short time later, was able fulfill of his dream of becoming an NHRA Top Fuel driver. He says driving the Menards/MTS dragster is "G-Force Therapy", and believes it helps him maintain a positive outlook. Beckman also visits numerous children's hospitals and cancer centers while on the road and is an ardent supporter of the Jeg's Foundation for Cancer Research.

-bms-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Frank Hawley