Don Schumacher Racing press release
Jack Beckman second as countdown starts during this weekend’s NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway
CONCORD, N.C., September 12, 2011 – Jack Beckman, sitting in second place as the Countdown for the Championship begins this weekend here at the fourth-annual NHRA Nationals, believes anything can happen during the playoffs, including good things for him and his Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team.
“You always want to be able to control your own destiny,” said the 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver poised to challenge points-leader Mike Neff and the rest of the 10-car playoff field. “We’re just a round and a half out of the lead, which is very close.
This makes Funny Car the most interesting and competitive of any pro category.
“Every race of the season’s 22 is important, but by the point system, these last six are more important. You get the same trophy for each win (Beckman has three so far in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season), but to win the championship, you need to go deep into rounds during the Countdown.”
Opening the playoffs here at zMAX Dragway outside Charlotte provides the California native with a confidence boost. He won the first race in 2008, finished runner up last year and won this year’s Spring 4-Wide Nationals here.
“We definitely have a comfort level in Charlotte,” he explained. “The tracks you haven’t won at you go to hoping to end such a streak. At the tracks where you have won, like we have at zMAX, you go in with confidence, hoping to duplicate your efforts. And obviously, Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and John (Collins, assistant crew chief) have great data from this place covering virtually any and all conditions.
“When we park ourselves in the winner’s circle at the end of race day, it’s the culmination of everyone on the Aaron’s/Valvoline team doing the right things on Sunday.”
Despite his strong second-place standing as the playoffs commence, Beckman believes the entire Countdown roster can triumph.
“There are 10 cars capable of winning the championship and 13 capable of winning any race,” he explained. “This makes Funny Car the most interesting and competitive of any pro category.
“The Countdown separates us from the ‘stick-and-ball’ sports’ playoffs where contending teams only face other playoff ones. In the Countdown, we’ll face at least one non-Countdown car at a race whose job it is to make our lives’ miserable. They want to beat us and any top-10 car and win a race very badly to prove something to themselves, their sponsors and their competitors.
“Any car is capable of anything in the Countdown and I believe the Aaron’s/Valvoline Funny Car is capable of accumulating the points to win it all.”