IT'S NAIL-BITING TIME IN BRISTOL SAYS BECKMAN NORTH HILLS, Calif. (July 5, 2007) - Jack Beckman is happily ensconced in the No. 8 position in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, and he's aiming to stay there or...
IT'S NAIL-BITING TIME IN BRISTOL SAYS BECKMAN
NORTH HILLS, Calif. (July 5, 2007) - Jack Beckman is happily ensconced in the No. 8 position in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, and he's aiming to stay there or improve with a strong showing at this weekend's re-scheduled O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Hanging on to a top-eight position is key as the Countdown to the Championship playoff will begin at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
Piloting the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing in his first full season in the Funny Car class, Beckman will make his first visit to Bristol Dragway.
"I'm really excited," said the drag-racing history fan. "Up until 1965 there were only two national events, Pomona and Indy. And in '65 they added Bristol and the World Finals, so there is tons of drag-racing and NHRA heritage in Bristol, where I've never been. I've heard wonderful things about that facility, and it's going to be special getting to go to that type of venue the first time.
"We closed out Chicago with a semifinal finish, then coming into the six-race swing we went second round in E-Town, second round in Norwalk, so we're winning rounds. And we're qualifying well. I thought that if you could win six rounds in the six-race swing it would probably solidify you in the top eight, but this whole leapfrog deal between seventh and 12th place is going to be interesting."
Beckman is surrounded by a group of drivers battling for that coveted No. 8 spot, including Ashley Force in seventh (27 points ahead), and followed by Tommy Johnson Jr. (10 points back), Cruz Pedregon (12), Jeff Arend (16), and Del Worsham (28).
"If you're a fan, this is exactly what the NHRA intended with this Countdown format. If you're a racer it's nail-biting time now.
"I really think the MTS Dodge is the most consistent car right now and if I do my job on Sunday, we're going to be in that winner's circle real soon," added Beckman, who has one Funny Car victory to his credit, in 2006.
Weather is always an issue during the summer months. "Actually, we've been blessed with good weather so far," said Beckman. "We haven't hit a lot of that East Coast humidity and the heat that they were predicting. Bristol might be a pressure cooker, but so far, so good.
"I feel wonderful. (Crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and the MTS Dodge guys know they've got a championship-contending race car and they know that we're always within a week of our first win. They'll rack up the road miles, I'll rack up the frequent flyer miles and hopefully we'll start racking up some trophies."
Beckman's sponsor, Mail Terminal Services, will be featuring Camp Ar Ramadi this weekend in Bristol, 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 "Racing Zone," the U.S. Army Interactive area located in Nitro Alley.