LAST YEAR'S NORWALK CHAMP BECKMAN GOES FOR TWO IN A ROW NORCO, Calif. (June 23, 2010) - Jack Beckman, winner of the 2009 Funny Car title in Norwalk, Ohio, is targeting his first repeat victory in two consecutive seasons at this weekend's fourth...
LAST YEAR'S NORWALK CHAMP BECKMAN GOES FOR TWO IN A ROW
NORCO, Calif. (June 23, 2010) - Jack Beckman, winner of the 2009 Funny Car title in Norwalk, Ohio, is targeting his first repeat victory in two consecutive seasons at this weekend's fourth annual NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
The driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger Funny car Don Schumacher Racing won last year's event on his birthday. "Last year my birthday was on Sunday, this year it is on Monday. So, I intend to get my trophy a day earlier for my birthday present this year," he said, with a cautious laugh.
With only five national events remaining before the Countdown to 1 playoffs begin for the top 10 in points in the final six races of the reason, what Beckman is serious about is clinching a spot in the top 10. Entering the Norwalk event, he is fourth in the rankings, 29 markers behind his DSR teammate Matt Hagan, in third. Second place is 97 points away (Robert Hight), and John Force holds the points lead by 155.
"Barring (crew chiefs) Rahn Tobler and John Collins deciding to join the Peace Corps and leaving tomorrow, I think that we're a solid lock for the Countdown. The way we're running, I think our chances of being a top-three car for the Countdown are pretty good. And I think if you're in the top six you've got a really good shot at winning the championship.
"At this point, once you get in the Countdown, I think the goal is pretty singular. It's the championship and that's going to be achieved by round wins. But, when you're this much into the season - we just passed the halfway point - we look like we're going to be right there amongst the top five cars for the rest of the regular season. We really want race wins now.
"When we lost at Bristol last Sunday in the quarterfinal, we didn't lose because of a parts malfunction and we didn't lose because of an error, and that means that we ought to be able to take that data and learn from it.
"Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway was the hottest race track we've been on on all year long and we're going to have more of the same coming up, but I think in this sport you have to learn from your mistakes and you have to learn from your successes.
"I don't think there's any race track that we pull into that we're not absolutely capable of winning," added Beckman, who has earned one victory so far this year and raced in his 100th national event in Bristol. "And I think all the Funny Car competitors realize that. It's just a matter of learning from every single run and applying that.
"I've never won two events in a row at the same venue. I've won Phoenix twice, but there was a year in between them. I would love at the end of this week to say that I won an event back to back. I've won two consecutive events the same year, in Denver and Seattle in 2007, but I've never won the same race two years in a row. And I think we can do that."
Beckman commented on John Medlen's taking over from Ed "Ace" McCulloch as crew chief on the NAPA AUTO PARTS car at DSR: "I think it might be a very intelligent thing to do and it might actually make our car better," he said. "Up until now we could bounce ideas off of Ace and he could bounce ideas off of us at the race track, but he had a car to tune and we had a car to tune. If he's freed up to devote a third of his weekend to each of the DSR Funny Cars, that could be a huge deal for all of us."