Pomona: Jack Beckman peview

BECKMAN EMBARKS ON THIRD FULL FUNNY CAR SEASON IN POMONA NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2009) - Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, Jack Beckman will embark on his third full season in the Funny...

BECKMAN EMBARKS ON THIRD FULL FUNNY CAR SEASON IN POMONA

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2009) - Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, Jack Beckman will embark on his third full season in the Funny Car class of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this weekend at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

It's been a whirlwind time for the California native, amassing six national-event victories in 12 final rounds in 2007-08, as well as setting the national top speed record of 333.16 mph at the end of the 2006 season, in which he raced in four events for DSR. He ended the last two years in fifth and third in the standings, respectively.

"There are high expectations this season for the team that has finished fifth and third, despite a lot of changes and whatnot," said Beckman, referring to crew changes, testing limitations and the economy. "We have 20 test runs under our belts, so there are no excuses. It's time for us to go out there and perform.

"We tried some things in testing (in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Phoenix) which seemed to work OK, and (crew chief) Johnny West and the Valvoline/MTS crew tried some things that we might revisit later in the year. But, testing in Phoenix was very tricky. We left West Palm Beach very optimistic and left Phoenix scratching our heads a little bit, but I don't think that's much different than it was for any other teams out there. There were very few non-tire-shake runs at Firebird Raceway.

"So, I think we're rolling into Pomona with the same confidence that we left there with last year at the final race that took us to six consistent runs and a semifinal-round finish. I can't see why we can't leave there with the trophy this time."

Beckman will race the in-house-built DSR002 chassis in Pomona, with the Dodge body decked out to feature the successful Mail Terminal Services "Mail From Home" program. Pomona will be the first of 12 national events this season at which MTS will honor the troops overseas with a special paint scheme on the Valvoline/MTS Funny Car.

"We took the DSR001 chassis to multiple final rounds and two wins last year," said Beckman. "DSR003 is riding with (rookie teammate) Matt Hagan right now, so we're hoping 002's the number to start the year off with success."

Mail Terminal Services will continue its popular "Mail From Home" campaign in 2009, supporting the U.S. troops serving in the war zones. In the past two NHRA seasons the campaign has sent over 195,000 post cards overseas signed by fans and supporters at each NHRA national event with messages of support for the troops, along with numerous NHRA National Dragster issues and other automotive magazines. Photos of cars and drivers were also included.

In 2009 the "Mail From Home" program has been challenged to exceed the previous records of cards distributed (90,000 and 100,000, respectively) to hit a 120,000-card record.

JACK BECKMAN QUICK FACTS:

* No. 3 in 2008 Funny Car point standings, with three victories-Phoenix, Reading, Concord-in seven final rounds

* His 2008 round win-loss record is 33-18

* Qualified No. 15 in 2008 Pomona opener, lost second round to Cruz Pedregon

* Was bumped out of the 2007 Countdown to Four playoffs standings at the Richmond, Va., event, after his teammates Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps reached the semifinal round

* Had back-to-back 2007 season victories in Denver and Seattle, in three final rounds

* Also in 2007 had three semifinal finishes, seven quarterfinal finishes and two DNQs, and a round win-loss record of 24-19

* In his 64 national events in Top Fuel and Funny Car, he has won six times in 12 final rounds (all in Funny Car), and has a career round win-loss record of 69-53

* Is the 2007 U.S. Smokeless Showdown winner ($100,000 bonus event held at U.S. Nationals)

* Set national elapsed-time record of 4.662 seconds and national speed record of 333.66 mph at final 2006 event in Pomona, Calif. The ET record has since been eclipsed. Beckman still holds the speed record

* As a Funny Car rookie in the last five races of 2006, he qualified No. 1 once (Pomona 2), reached two final rounds (Las Vegas 2 and Pomona 2), won once (Vegas 2), and set both ends of the national record (Pomona 2)

* Residence: North Hills, Calif.

* Hometown: Granada Hills, Calif.

* Date of birth: June 28, 1966

* Married, Jenna (wedding date 11/7/06), son Jason Russell (3/8/07)

* Height/weight: 6'0", 185 lbs.

* Serves as instructor at Frank Hawley's NHRA Championship Drag Racing School; former Sergeant in U.S. Air Force (1984-88); cancer survivor; licensed in nine different NHRA categories

* First Start in TF: Las Vegas 1 2005

* First Start in FC: , Dallas, Texas, 2006

* Competed in only 12 TF events in 2005, ended season 15th in points

* Career-best FC elapsed time: 4.662 seconds (Pomona 2 '06)

* Career-best FC speed: 333.66 mph (Pomona 2 '06)

* Career-best TF elapsed time: 4.563 seconds (TF, Brainerd 2005)

* Career-best TF speed: 324.28 mph (TF, Brainerd 2005)

* In 2003 won Super Comp world championship in Lucas Oil Series and Division 7 Super Comp championship

* Leads 14-time champion John Force in head-to-head in round wins: 6-4

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan , Frank Hawley