Dallas: Jack Beckman preview

BECKMAN'S DSR DEBUT DELAYED UNTIL DALLAS ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 19, 2006) - Jack Beckman, who was announced last week as the new driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will have to wait for this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA...

BECKMAN'S DSR DEBUT DELAYED UNTIL DALLAS

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 19, 2006) - Jack Beckman, who was announced last week as the new driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will have to wait for this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex to make his debut with Don Schumacher Racing after the Reading, Pa., event was re-scheduled to Sept. 29-Oct. 1 because of rain.

The 40-year-old North Hills, Calif., resident who serves as an instructor at Frank Hawley's NHRA Championship Drag Racing School, sees the delay as just another day in the life of a professional racer.

"You'd absolutely burn yourself out in drag racing if you let the highs get that high and the lows get that low," says Beckman, who has competed in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel class, and recently earned his Funny Car license. "It is such a sport of patience because you're not only up there at the whim of Mother Nature but track conditions, schedules and other things as well. You just kind of take everything as it comes to you.

"It was certainly not what I envisioned," he says of his delayed debut. "In my mind's eye I was picturing how nice it was going to be once we put the car in the show and tried to get it to the final, and we got out there and didn't do anything but sit through the rain.

"But, it also gave me an opportunity to spend a little more time with the Matco Tools crew and with the other teammates on Don Schumacher Racing."

As for this opportunity to drive for DSR, "I would imagine, like with anything this big that you've worked for this long, that there is probably still a mild state of shock," says Beckman. "I've been going to the races since I was 7 and this is what I've always wanted to do. And the majority of my adult life I've been pursuing and trying to do this. Then to be picked up by Don Schumacher Racing to drive one of the best cars out there right now, I'm not sure that it's completely sunk in.

"I don't know that it's going to sink in until I go out there for the driver intros Sunday morning after we've qualified. And even then it might not fully sink in. So, I guess I'm taking it in stride. And the fact that I work a full-time job at least gives me that diversion. I'm not sitting home eight hours a day, twiddling my thumbs jumping up and down at the opportunity to do this."

Excitement aside, Beckman is clearly well-grounded. "I'm doing my best to temper my enthusiasm," he says, "because the reality is, when I get out there - and the Matco Tools guys have already had success - I want to make sure I do everything in my power to get the car down the track, to get the ET that they put in the car. I recognize that, even though for Jack Beckman this may be the coolest thing to ever happen in my life, I still have a very big obligation to Don Schumacher Racing and all the guys on the Matco Tools Dodge team."

Last year in Ennis, Beckman drove a Top Fuel dragster to No. 11 in qualifying, then lost first round to Doug Herbert.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Frank Hawley