Gainesville: Jack Beckman preview

New Dad Beckman Ready For The Gators NORTH HILLS, Calif. (March 14, 2007) - Jason Russell Beckman conveniently arrived on March 8, between NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events, giving Jenna and Jack Beckman some time to rest and adjust to...

New Dad Beckman Ready For The Gators

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (March 14, 2007) - Jason Russell Beckman conveniently arrived on March 8, between NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events, giving Jenna and Jack Beckman some time to rest and adjust to life with a new baby before the third event of the season, the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, kicks off at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway this weekend.

Beckman, driver of the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, is in his first full season in the class and, although he's never raced at Gainesville Raceway, he spent three months there in 2001 as an instructor at the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School. It's one of his favorites.

"I love Gainesville because the race is always a sell-out," said Beckman. "So, in terms of popularity it's at the top of the NHRA tour. I also love Gainesville because of the super-long shut-down area, so there's not that concern about getting the 'chutes out early or right at the finish line like at it is at some of the shorter race tracks.

"It also is the other home of the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School. I was out there for three months teaching in 2001 and I got my alcohol Funny Car license there in 2002. I never raced there, but I've driven race cars there."

So far this year, after the stunning end to his five-race 2006 season, where he was low qualifier once, reached the final round twice, won once and set both national records (the elapsed-time record has since been eclipsed), Beckman is 11th in the standings after two races.

"We haven't shown what we're capable of," he said. "And I think we can't necessarily over-analyze and put all our eggs in one basket and say we're going to win this race. But, with the level of talent on our team, we should be able to win a few races this year. And, obviously the next race is the place that everybody says is where they want to start winning.

"It would be so awesome to win a race as big as the Gatornationals, to start off this year. The other thing is, there is plenty of time to get into that top eight (for the Countdown to the Championship), but we want to not only be in the top eight, we want to be near the top."

As for newborn Jason Russell Beckman, he arrived at 7:48 p.m. PT on March 8 and weighed in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces. "We had it down between naming him Brian and Jason. We liked the sound of both of those," explained Beckman. "And so we waited until he came out and looked at him and tried to figure out which one he looked more like. The 'Russell' is named after my grandfather and my uncle. The 'Beckman' is named after me," he beamed.

MTS 'MAIL FROM HOME' PROGRAM UPDATE: Mail Terminal Services will be featuring Camp Muleskinner at the Gatornationals 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 Interactive area.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Frank Hawley