Busy weekend ahead for Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman wouldn't mind if some karma flows his way after a special night on the eve of this weekend's 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.
The two-time NHRA world champion will induct friend and mentor, Frank Hawley, into Don Garlits' International Drag Racing Hall of Fame on Thursday night before heading to the track for Friday's first two qualifying sessions.
Gainesville is one of the tracks where Jack has yet to make a championship round with his Sandvik/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T while Hawley won Funny Car titles there twice, in 1982 and 1983 when he also won the NHRA world championship.
"I would consider that right at top of my career highlights list," he said of the induction. "It's awesome and well deserved for Frank. I was humbled when he asked me.
"My life took a positive direction when he hired me (in 1998) to be one the instructors at his Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. He has been a big influence on not just my racing career but on how I look at things on a personal level.
"This is very personal for me because, not only is he a friend and mentor, but he's someone I've been around an incredible amount of time over the last 15 years."
After the special night, Jack is expecting a special weekend on the track at Gainesville.
In January, the only members of the Sandvik/Valvoline team were Jack and assistant crew chief Terry Snyder. After veteran Rob Flynn was hired as crew chief the team was filled out and it has progressed steadily.
"As far as our race team is going, we ran well at Pomona, and at Phoenix we really looked good with a consistently quick car," Jack said.
He qualified sixth at Phoenix and advanced to the quarterfinals.
"If I'm an odds maker I'm accelerating the time table for us to get our first race win of the year. We're further ahead of where I thought to be after Pomona."'
/Don Schumacher Racing