Jack Beckman Is Taking His Dream Machine To America’s Heartland For The Summer Nationals
TOPEKA, Kan., – Jack Beckman drives the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into Heartland Park Topeka for this weekend’s 23rd annual NHRA Summer Nationals on a run of two wins in the last three races, including last week’s event at Atlanta Dragway.
The 44-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver has steadily moved from 10th place, after the season’s initial contest, to second in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, trailing Mike Neff by a one-round deficit of 20 points.
According to Beckman, things have been coming together for the team as the season progressed.
“Jelling, chemistry, momentum, check, check and check,” said the Southern Californian. “I just can’t wait to get to the track and into the race car. I’m always excited about racing, but I am especially so right now, anxious to get in the car for that very first run on Fridays.”
He attributes the calm, confidence of the team to its two primary leaders – Rahn Tobler, crew chief and John Collins, assistant crew chief.
“Both Rahn and John are quiet, serious guys, respectful of each other,” he explained. “They talk like friends at work, taking their jobs and responsibilities very seriously. And neither of them has an ego – there are no egos on the Aaron’s/Valvoline team.
“Actually, I have nine friends here. It’s not mandatory for the driver and the crew members to be friends, but it is a big plus. Most importantly, there is a mutual respect and trust amongst us, which cannot be underestimated. The guy driving an 8,000-horsepower car running on nitro needs to trust the guys working on his car in order to do his job with confidence.”
Beckman and the team’s confidence has grown steadily from the disappointing opening race first-round loss. He followed with a semifinals appearance, a quarterfinals one, then a win in the unique Charlotte 4-Wide Nationals, another semifinals round in Houston and last week’s win in the Southern Nationals. The results – second place in the standings behind Neff and ahead of Robert Hight, Cruz Pedregon and DSR teammate Matt Hagan.
The two wins as well as last year’s win in Phoenix – his last three victories – came at tracks where he had previously won. This is not the case for Heartland Park, but Beckman is not concerned.
“There are more tracks I have not won at then ones I have,” said the winner of 11 national events since his 2006 rookie year in a Funny Car. “I think the odds are good I will win events at “new” tracks and I don’t see any reason why this can’t start here in Topeka.
“The way this Aaron’s/Valvoline Funny Car is running and this team is working, we should be back in the final round very quickly.”