Jack Beckman Welcomes Western Racing Beginning With Denver Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Meeting the challenges of racing at high altitude concerns crew chiefs, but Jack Beckman, driver of the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car likes almost everything about competing in this weekend’s 24th-annual MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals here at Bandimere Speedway.
“As a crew chief choosing the top race to take off the tour, I would bet nine out of 10 would choose this one,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “There is nothing that can prepare them for racing in Denver except their notes from the previous years’ performance; there is no other track like it in the country.
“But as a driver, I love it. It’s an amazing place; one of the most beautiful places to race, with the track built into the mountains. The Bandimere family has done a great job for more than 50 years for the fans, the teams and the drivers.
“It’s also nice to go back to a track where you’ve won before – somewhere you can subconsciously remember holding the trophy.”
Beckman, 45, took home the Wally in 2007 and in 2009 set the Bandimere track speed record with a 303.37-mile-per-hour lap.
“I enjoy driving here, but this is really a race that the crew chiefs have to win,” he explained. “If you’ve got the best crew chiefs – and I’ve got great ones in Rahn Tobler and John Collins (assistant crew chief) – you can knock out a couple of round wins here. It’s up to me not to knock us out, but we’ve done well so far this year.”
With two wins (Charlotte 4-Wide and Atlanta) in the first 11 races of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season – a period in which the Aaron’s/Valvoline team has averaged a semifinal finish in each race – he sits solidly in second place of the Funny Car standings, as the regular season winds down towards the Countdown to 1 playoffs (in which the top 10 drivers compete for the championship).
This weekend’s race is the first in the Western Swing, a grueling three-consecutive weekends of competition continuing in Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle after Denver.
“I’ve done well at all those tracks, winning in Seattle in 2007 and last year runner up to (DSR teammate) Ron Capps in Sonoma,” he said. “He owes me one this year.”
In addition to advancing to the final round last year in Sonoma, Beckman put the Aaron’s /Valvoline car on the pole while setting the track E.T. (4.063) and speed records (311.56) in the process.
By: don schumacher racing