BECKMAN BACK "HOME" IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS (Oct. 24, 2006) - Jack Beckman, who makes his home in North Hills, Calif., welcomes his return to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals this weekend, as he prepares...
BECKMAN BACK "HOME" IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 24, 2006) - Jack Beckman, who makes his home in North Hills, Calif., welcomes his return to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals this weekend, as he prepares for his fourth race as the driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
Beckman, who claimed his first Funny Car round win at the last event in Richmond, Va., is still getting his bearings as a Funny Car driver in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series after a short stint as a pro Top Fuel driver. He replaced Whit Bazemore in the Matco Tools Dodge after 18 season events.
"I'm excited," said Beckman, the 2003 NHRA Super Comp champion who made his Top Fuel debut at The Strip in 2005. "I'm a little bit more than excited for a couple of reasons. For one, I'm kind of coming back into my home territory. Vegas is a track that I've raced at quite a bit, so I have a lot of friends and family out here. I'm kind of glad for the first three races with DSR it was far away from home, so I could focus more on the team and the driving task.
"And the other reason I'm excited is I think that we made some good strides in Richmond. Not that I didn't think the team was capable of winning a race, much less a round, but for the first couple of races not winning a round really was disappointing to everybody - more so to the Matco Tools team than me. And then to get the first win light at Richmond was rewarding. It makes you hungry for more.
"I also think Vegas when it's at its best is a much more forgiving track than any of the three I've already run at. Dallas, Maple Grove (Reading, Pa.) and Richmond are all a little bit iffy. They're more driver tracks because the groove can be a little tougher to keep the cars in. And I don't think we're going to have that big an issue with that in Vegas. So, if the weather is cool, it's going to favor the horsepower cars, and that's what we have. The track should be dynamite.
"I really feel like we have a good chance of winning the whole thing here."
Beckman will also enjoy some "off-track" time in Vegas. "I'm going to participate in the Speedway Children's Charities poker tournament and I'm going to the military hospital at Nellis Air Force Base and visit some of the soldiers there who got injured," he said. "I did that last year too. I'm a former Air Force sergeant so I have a vested interest in all the military people. There are a lot of neat things that are going to happen this week and hopefully we can culminate it on Sunday in the winner's circle."