JACK BECKMAN TAKES SECOND PLAYOFF SPOT AFTER 57TH-ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS, September 5, 2011 – Jack Beckman drove the Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to victory in today’s first round of the 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, thus moving into second place for the upcoming Countdown to 1 playoffs, where the Top Ten drivers will battle for the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship.
Despite losing to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan in a close side-by-side race down the strip of Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Beckman posting a 4.112-second lap at 314.31 miles per hour against Hagan’s 4.066 at 315.05) in the quarterfinals, Beckman did not consider the day a failure.
“They just out muscled us today,” said the 45-year-old Californian. “Whenever two cars capable of winning the race go up against each other, one has to lose, and today it was us.”
Having qualified fifth on the strength of a 4.082-second pass at 312.93 mph in the final session on Sunday, Beckman opened today’s competition with a match against Paul Lee. The DSR Funny Car pilot ran 4.066 at a track-record 315.19 mph speed to beat Lee’s 4.164 at 293.60 and gain the meeting with Hagan.
“It stinks not being able to get an Indy trophy this year,” he said of today’s results at the season’s premier event. “But it doesn’t mean we can’t get one in Charlotte two weeks from now.”
Beckman was alluding to the next stop on the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit, the September 15-18 fourth-annual NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C. This race begins the six-race playoff series for the championship.
“We’re entering the Countdown in second place, the same position we were in last year (in this case 20 points behind Funny Car leader Mike Neff, today’s winner),” he said. “But where we slid down as the Countdown progressed last year; this year we intend to go in the other direction!”