Charlotte: Jack Beckman preview

INAUGURAL CONCORD EVENT CHAMP BECKMAN READY TO REPEAT NORCO, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2009) - Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car and the winner of the inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals in 2008, is ready to...

INAUGURAL CONCORD EVENT CHAMP BECKMAN READY TO REPEAT

NORCO, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2009) - Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car and the winner of the inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals in 2008, is ready to repeat at this weekend's second event at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

This event also kicks off the Countdown to 1 playoffs for the top 10 in the point standings who will vie for the championship in the final six events of the season. Beckman, a two-time titlist this year, is fifth in the standings and is aiming to make up for his and the team's recent mini-slump.

"We need to do well," he said. "We're experiencing an unusual slump. We haven't won a round in the last two races. We've only won two rounds in three races, and this time last year we had seven round wins over the last two races. We have to improve and we have to do it right now.

"So, it's awesome for us to come back to somewhere where we feel comfortable and where we won the inaugural race. And I'm excited about it.

"This is a case of, I don't think winning defines the character of the teams, I think the character of the teams defines winning."

For the playoffs the NHRA has instituted a qualifying bonus for the top three qualifiers in each session of a weekend, providing three, two and one points, respectively, as well as recognizing elapsed-time national records for 1000-foot racing by awarding 20 points (not retroactively) for the quickest elapsed time backed up by another pass during the weekend within one percent. The benchmark is Beckman's teammate Ron Capps' 4.023-second elapsed time set in Phoenix this year.

"We fully expect to come into Concord and win the race. We'd like to qualify well, but historically we have proven that we can win from any position," said Beckman, in only his third full season of pro NHRA competition. "But, now that NHRA has put additional qualifying points into position, you can pick up or lose more than half a round at every single race. So, it's going to be important for us to kind of micro-manage each qualifying session now.

"It's not that they weren't important before, it's just that now every single point becomes critical. Because of the reset in points for the playoffs, all the teams are separated by an even number of points. It's either 10 or 20 points, so it's either a half a round or a round. That means that one point in qualifying in theory can be worth as much as a round because it's going to break ties. So, we're really going to have to be on our game. We just have to look at every single qualifying session as being as important as a race.

"If we win, we'll come out of Concord anywhere between first and fourth in the points and that's great. As long as we keep winning rounds, theoretically, the points are going to take care of themselves."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman