Don Schumacher Racing press release
“STAY THE COURSE” SAYS POINTS LEADER JACK BECKMAN HEADING INTO BIG O TIRES NHRA NATIONALS
LAS VEGAS, October 24, 2011 – Jack Beckman does not expect his Valvoline NextGen/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team to make any major changes in its approach to this weekend’s 11th-annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals here now that he has taken the lead in the 2011NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
“I don’t know what we have to do to win the championship, what I do know is we are going to approach these last two races the same way we have done all year,” explained Beckman as he prepares to head down the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and John (Collins, assistant crew chief) take a methodical approach at each race, collecting data, getting down the track as consistently as possible. If we have to step it up, we know how to take the steps to do so. We don’t swing for the fences unless we’re well qualified.”
The 45-year-old Californian jumped from fifth to first following his win (third of the season) in Phoenix, the previous race.
“I thought when the Countdown began, we’d need 12 round wins to take the championship,” said Beckman. “We’ve got seven, which means five more in the last two races would equal my prediction. I’m not sure, considering how tight the Funny Car category is, that would be enough after all.
“We’re closer to fifth than I was going into Phoenix; that’s how quickly things can change in the Funny Car category.” “
Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, in second, trails Beckman by five points, and is followed by Mike Neff, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight, who is 58 points, or less than three rounds, behind.
“We’d love to pick up three more rounds on the field at this race,” he said in preparing for a track at which he has been successful. “I got my first nitro win here (in 2006 as well as the runner up in 2009) and in 2003 I won eight rounds in Super Comp to set up my winning that class in the next race at Pomona, so I have a high level of comfort here, going back to my Sportsman days.
“And I think we’ll be in great shape for Vegas. I think we excel on mild to warmer tracks and that is what I expect this weekend here.”