JACK BECKMAN WILL START FROM FIFTH SPOT FOR 57TH-ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS

Jack Beckman, Aaron's/Valvoline Dodge Charger
Jack Beckman, Aaron's/Valvoline Dodge Charger

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, September 5, 2011 – The Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team virtually “shifted gears” during Sunday’s final-qualifying round here, thus propelling Jack Beckman into the fifth-starting position for Monday’s 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

The Don Schumacher Racing driver blasted down the drag strip of Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 4.082 seconds at 312.93 miles per hour to gain a match against 12th-qualifier Paul Lee in the first round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.

“We were struggling throughout the first two days of qualifying,” explained the 45-year-old Californian. “We had a great test session here last week, but during the first two rounds of qualifying it felt like something had fallen off the race car. We were forced to take three steps backward, to soften up the settings to get down the track.

“It was great watching Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and John (Collins, assistant crew chief) go onto their computers and through their notes to find the answers.

“We turned in a 4.226 in the third round, and then made adjustments for the fourth session (4.161), but it was still not quite right. The last run, obviously, was much better and we are confident going into Monday.”

According to Beckman, the weekend did not start as the team planned, but hopes the progress made will result in a long day Monday.

“I want Labor Day to be a lot of work for everyone on the Valvoline/Aaron’s team,” he said. “And it should be a labor of love!”