BECKMAN SET FOR ROUND 2 OF HIS FUNNY CAR CAREER IN READING MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 28, 2006) - Jack Beckman is ready to return to the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, just outside of Reading, Pa., where he was initially scheduled to...
BECKMAN SET FOR ROUND 2 OF HIS FUNNY CAR CAREER IN READING
MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 28, 2006) - Jack Beckman is ready to return to the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, just outside of Reading, Pa., where he was initially scheduled to debut in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing.
With that event being re-scheduled for this weekend after rain washed it out two weeks ago, Beckman made his first official passes in Dallas last weekend at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. The former Top Fuel racer and Super Comp champion qualified 15th and lost in the opening round of eliminations, making a solid first step in his learning curve as a Funny Car rookie.
"The guys on the Matco Tools crew are amazing," says Beckman, 40, of North Hills, Calif. "Don (Schumacher, team owner) is doing everything he can to get me up to speed as quickly as possible.
"We were thinking about testing in Dallas on Monday, but we decided the bigger benefit would be to try to get me fitted in the car more comfortably. I have a a very long upper torso, so I'm shoved up in the cage a little bit. So, we trucked everything straight from Dallas to the DSR shop in Indy, all 700 miles, and Monday morning had a guy come in and pour a new seat for the car. I still am a little tall for the car and we are more likely than not going to put a new seat in it after Virginia (the race immediately following Reading in Richmond, Va.). I am so appreciative of everybody wanting to get me as comfortable as possible to get up to speed."
Cooler temperatures this weekend will throw him and his crew chief Todd Okuhara another curve as Beckman and the Matco Tools team continue to adjust to the driver change. "One extreme to another," says Beckman, who also serves as an instructor at Frank Hawley's NHRA Championship Drag Racing School. "In Dallas we faced a hot race track which gave us a chance of overpowering it and spinning the tires. Now, at Maple Grove we have the potential of too cold a race track where we could overpower it and spin the tires. Plus, Maple Grove has always been fast, and it has a fairly narrow groove compared to Dallas, so it wouldn't be the optimum choice for a newer driver to go out there and get up to speed. But then NHRA didn't let me choose which race track to go to, so I'll go to Maple Grove to race.
"I'm still incredibly excited and I'm hoping that I've learned some things in Dallas that we can apply to running at Maple Grove.
"Plus, these two weeks will go a long way in helping me feel more comfortable and confident. I'm going to get to make 10 to 16 runs, hopefully 16, in the next two weeks, so I think that will be huge in my learning curve."