Las Vegas: Jack Beckman preview

BECKMAN WELCOMES RETURN TO THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS NORTH HILLS, Calif. (April 8, 2008) - Jack Beckman, pilot of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, welcomes the return to The Strip at Las ...

BECKMAN WELCOMES RETURN TO THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (April 8, 2008) - Jack Beckman, pilot of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, welcomes the return to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend's fifth of 24 national events of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Riding high in second place in the Funny Car point standings after one win, two quarterfinal finishes and a first-round loss, Beckman is ready to revel in the expected stellar track conditions at The Strip this weekend, the site of his first Funny Car win in 2006.

"I can't wait," said Beckman, who captured that victory in only his fourth national event in a Funny Car. "You know, it's funny. Initially, as a newer driver in a nitro Funny Car, which you can argue is one of the tougher cars to drive, I wanted every race track to be perfect and smooth, just like Las Vegas, because the cars are easier to drive on those surfaces.

"Then you get to some of the other tracks - and 'challenging' might be the right word to use when describing them," he said of many of the new tracks he raced on in his first full season on the NHRA pro circuit in 2007, winning three times. "So, now that I'm getting more experienced and feeling comfortable in the car, I'm kind of looking forward to some of the tracks that you might consider tricky because I think it gives you an opportunity to shine as a driver.

"That being said, we've spent several weekends at tricky race tracks this year, and I can't wait to get to Vegas. Except for when the dirt settles over the tunnel at half-track and the dip reappears, The Strip in my mind is probably the best in the country, the safest in the country with the long uphill shutdown area, and it really lets the crew chiefs shine. It has a wide predictable groove and you can usually get the race car down the track if you don't overpower it by trying to set the world on fire.

"I have had great success there, my first Funny Car win was there, and hopefully my next Funny Car win will be there."

Beckman, a cancer survivor, former Air Force sergeant and an instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, has a Funny Car career record of four wins in six final rounds and still holds the top-speed national record of 333.66 mph set at the end of 2006.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Frank Hawley