JACK BECKMAN WILL START FIFTH IN SUNDAY’S NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS
CHANDLER, Ariz., October 15, 2011 – Aboard his Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Jack Beckman banked a 4.279-second pass Friday to earn the fifth-qualifying spot for Sunday’s 27th-annual NHRA Arizona Nationals here at Firebird International Raceway.
The 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver will take on 12th-qualifier and reigning NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champion John Force in the first round of final eliminations, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CDT.
“It’s not about who we are facing in any round; we have to win this race,” said Beckman. “We’re three rounds (each worth 20 points) behind the Countdown (to the Championship) leader with 12 rounds of racing remaining in the season. We have to make up at least three rounds, so I think we have to win a race and I want this one.”
Beckman enters final eliminations fifth in the standings, trailing Mike Neff, DSR teammate Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight, with 55 points separating him from leader Neff.
The challenging conditions, with air temperatures nearing triple digits and track temperatures topping 130, affected every team and helped keep Beckman’s qualifying runs to 4.956, 4.279, 4.788 and 4.341 seconds, with none reaching 285 miles per hour.
“A hot race track like this is a great equalizer,” he explained. “You have to cripple the cars to get them down the track.
‘You won’t see any record runs, any great numbers. You will see some broken hearts and some jubilation – I just hope we are in the latter category!”