JACK BECKMAN EARNS FIFTH-STARTING SPOT FOR 27TH-ANNUAL AUTO-PLUS® NHRA NATIONALS
MOHNTON, Pa., October 1, 2011 – Under cool but threatening skies during two days of qualifying, Jack Beckman, at the wheel of the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car produced three solid runs en route to a number-five starting spot for Sunday’s 27th annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals here at Maple Grove Raceway.
The Aaron’s/Valvoline flopper opened Friday’s qualifying with a 4.210 lap at 303.30 miles per hour, followed with a 4.103 at 313.22 mph that evening before posting a qualifying run of 4.039 at 317.96 mph in today’s first round.
“When we came out for today’s final session, we had the luxury of being able to push the Aaron’s/Valvoline car to see what we could do,” said the 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver about the fourth-qualifying pass of 4.634. “The conditions were great here, and a lot of cars flexed their muscles.
“This will go down, with Charlotte (two weeks ago) as a one-in-five-year event with huge numbers put up in all classes (including DSR teammate Johnny Gray’s pole-taking, track-record 4.010).”
While Beckman enjoyed the qualifying moments, he acknowledged the really important work begins at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday with the start of final eliminations.
“We have a great first-round match (with 12th-qualifier Bob Tasca III) and I don’t care what kind of numbers we put as long as we win,” he said. “And as long as we keep winning, it doesn’t matter, because there are only four races, 16 rounds, left in the Countdown.
“We are less than two rounds out of first (holding fourth in the title chase), so Sunday isn’t ‘do or die,’ but it is to some of the racers and it is important for us to get as many round wins as we can. We want to move up in the standings; positioning ourselves closer to the championship.”