JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2) -- Under normal circumstances, the Menards/Mail Terminal Services Top Fuel team would be delighted with a 4.57-second run, but at the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals in Joliet, it was only good for the 12th qualifying spot...
JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2) -- Under normal circumstances, the Menards/Mail Terminal Services Top Fuel team would be delighted with a 4.57-second run, but at the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals in Joliet, it was only good for the 12th qualifying spot in one of the quickest Top Fuel field's ever assembled. By qualifying 12th, driver "Fast Jack" Beckman was paired with No. 5 qualifier Brandon Bernstein in round one and lost a close race, 4.65 to Bernstein's 4.54.
"Our Menards/MTS dragster ran well this weekend, but we really needed to run about six or seven hundredths quicker in order to be a factor," said Beckman. "On the bright side, we got our consistency back. We ran in the 4.5s a couple of times during qualifying and that 4.65 in the first round was actually a better run than the numbers showed because we dropped a cylinder late in the run. We struggled at our last race in Indianapolis, so I take this as a very positive sign for the rest of the year."
Beckman was very busy in Joliet as he also competed in the Super Comp category during Saturday's Jeg's All Stars competition. Driving a dragster for the Jeg's Mail Order team, Beckman posted a semifinal finish. Beckman was the only professional racer to drive two cars at the event.
"I can't thank the Jeg's team enough for their hospitality," said Beckman. "They rally went our of their way to help me for this race.
The Menards/MTS team will now head to Dallas for next weekend's rain delayed O'Reilly Fall Nationals. The Texas Motorplex is the only all-concrete racing surface on the NHRA POWERade tour and it has a history of producing record-setting elapsed times.
Though he has only competed in nine of 20 races this season, Beckman is 15th in the points standings for the upcoming Budweiser Shootout, which will be held on Saturday October 22, during the AC Delco Nationals in Las Vegas. The top seven qualifiers for the prestigious $100,000 to specialty event are automatically seeded in the field but the final spot is determined through a random draw of the eighth through 15th qualifiers. A strong qualifying performance in Dallas would likely increase Beckman's chances of making the exclusive eight-car field.
"Since qualifying for the Bud Shootout is determined via a lottery drawing, its really out of our hands," said Beckman. "Still, we are a part-time team and I'm still a rookie in Top Fuel so I consider it an honor just to be in the running this late in the year."