Don Schumacher Racing press release
QUIET CONFIDENCE SURROUNDS JACK BECKMAN FIGHTING FOR TITLE HEADING INTO NHRA FINALS
POMONA, Calif., November 7, 2011 – Jack Beckman will wheel the Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the Auto Club Raceway starting line here this weekend holding second place in the standings, a mere one point out of first, as the opening round of qualifying begins for the 47th-annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.
The slim margin could disappear or expand during the qualifying rounds Thursday, Friday or Saturday, dictating the Sunday race-day results to attain the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship.
“One point could mean nothing or the championship,” explained Beckman who trails his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan as the final-race week begins. “If we don’t make up the point in qualifying, we are essentially one round behind Matt. If we win the race, the difference is irrelevant; if we go out in the same round as Matt late in the race, without either Cruz (Pedregon, 25 behind Beckman) or Mike (Neff, 33) going around us, qualifying points will determine the championship.
“We’ve demonstrated throughout the year we are one of the best Sunday cars, so if we don’t make it up in qualifying and retain our position, we’ll have to go at least one round better than Matt to win the title.”
Despite not being especially strong in qualifying, Beckman believes the Valvoline/Aaron’s Funny Car will be up to the challenge of competing throughout the weekend.
“I have a ton of confidence in Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and John (Collins, assistant crew chief),” he said. “They’ll give me a race car which has the best possible chance of going down the race track each qualifying session.
“This is where Rahn and John are going through the data from this year and late last season, looking at what we’ve run on cooler tracks to decide the route we’ll take. Even if the track might handle a 4.01, we won’t go for that out of the box; we’ll shoot for maybe a 4.03 and then chip away (at the time) in subsequent sessions.
“I feel surprisingly good about this entire weekend. Not in an arrogant way, but the comfort and chemistry with the nine guys on the team has been phenomenal all season long and we have every reason to believe we can end the season as world champions.”