JACK BECKMAN’S DAY OVER QUICKLY AT THE 30TH-ANNUAL LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS
BRAINERD, Minn., August 21, 2011 – Jack Beckman, aboard his Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, exited today’s 30th-annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals early here at Brainerd International Raceway.
The 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver, coming out of the ninth-qualifying spot, smoked his tires, lost traction and subsequently the match with eighth-qualifier Melanie Troxel in the first round of final eliminations.
Beckman posted a 4.858-second lap at 171.82 miles per hour against Troxel’s 4.195 at 306.46. He used a 4.186 at 292.77 to capture the ninth place on the ladder, the first of three consecutive qualifying rounds in the 4.18s.
“It’s unlike this team to leave Sunday without any round wins,” the California native said. “We’re locked into the Countdown, but we want to gain second place if we can and we want to win the trophy each race. If we run like that, the points will take care of themselves.”
Beckman will head to the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis, the final race of the regular season, holding third in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
He is 16 points, less than one race-round win, behind second-place holder Robert Hight. Mike Neff leads the group, with Cruz Pedregon fourth and DSR teammates Matt Hagan and Ron Capps rounding out the top six spots (the top 10 after Indy qualify for the six-race playoffs).
“We have the luxury to try some new things with the car we’re thinking about for the Countdown,” explained Beckman. “And sometimes you lean on a new setup a bit too much and, well, you smoke the tires or do something else which results in losing a round.
“The upside is you have the luxury to try things; the downside is we come to win. But we’ll do some testing at Indy prior to the race which will be helpful.”