JACK BECKMAN STARTS FOURTH FOR NHRA NATIONALS AT zMAX DRAGWAY
CONCORD, N.C., September 17, 2011 – Jack Beckman blasted the Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T into the fourth-starting position for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals here at zMAX Dragway with the fastest lap in Funny Car history.
Renewing the rights to his “Fast Jack” nickname, the 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver tripped the timing clocks at 318.92 miles per hour during his 4.044-second lap in Friday’s second qualifying session.
“It’s a neat deal to know the Valvoline/Aaron’s Funny Car is the fastest Funny Car in history,” said the native Californian. “But, to be honest, we were a little disappointed in how we ran during the rest of qualifying.
“After we had that great pass on Friday night, we tried a couple of things today, but they didn’t work out. I’m not concerned, though, about race day because I have enormous confidence in Rahn Tobler (crew chief and John Collins (assistant crew chief).”
Beckman, with lane choice, takes on 13th-qualifier Paul Lee in the opening round of final eliminations scheduled for a noon EDT start.
“You’d always rather have lane choice than not, but I’m not sure if it matters for tomorrow’s first round,” he explained. “We’ll take it and watch the Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars running before us to see if it makes a difference – we just don’t know yet (and it did not seem to matter much during qualifying).”
Tomorrow’s contest is the first in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, a six-race playoff pitting the top-10 drivers for the title. Beckman enters race day holding second, 33 points – less than two rounds – behind leader Mike Neff.
“The underlying theme: winning rounds is the most important thing (each one is worth 20 points),” he said. “We are not going to look ahead of ourselves. The only thing that matters is the round we are going into. We are going to treat every round as a final round.”