BECKMAN BAGS NO. 9 IN RICHMOND QUALIFYING DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 14, 2006) - "Fast" Jack Beckman, driving in his third-ever NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car event, qualified the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T in No. 9 for the...
BECKMAN BAGS NO. 9 IN RICHMOND QUALIFYING
DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 14, 2006) - "Fast" Jack Beckman, driving in his third-ever NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car event, qualified the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T in No. 9 for the rescheduled Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals, out-qualifying his Don Schumacher Racing teammates Ron Capps (No. 13) and Gary Scelzi (No. 12).
Beckman, still learning the ropes of driving a Nitro Funny Car, established his quickest pass of 4.831 seconds at 304.87 mph in Friday night's cooler conditions, but each of his laps, although not perfect, produced consistent lap times. He clocked a 4.975/244.38, a 4.926/245.36 and a 5.139/257.14, in which the car caught fire. No damage, but it's something Beckman will remember.
"The car was a consistent car all four runs," he said. "Nobody's been here for a long time (NHRA has not raced at Virginia Motorsports Park since 2000) and it's got a new treatment. The asphalt is not quite as good as the last couple of tracks we've been to.
"The problem is, you're making big horsepower because of the (cooler) weather and the track can't take all that power from half-track on. That's why you're not seeing a lot of big speeds. The cars run quick early and then spin the tires.
"So, in the first and third runs I shut off pretty early because the motor started revving up and I don't have the experience to know if that's a savable run. I didn't want to hurt anything. God, I sure made up for that on this (last) run.
"On the night run our numbers looked pretty good. I shut off a little bit early on that one, but we still ran that 4.83. And then in the third one we tried taking power out of it for the race track, and the car moved over, dropped a cylinder and moved over even more.
"We took power out of it for the final pass. It looked like it knocked a rod out of the thing and that's my first Funny Car fire. It's an experience, but it was something I was kind of hoping I'd put off for another 100 runs or so.
"The reality is that this is just part of nitro racing. Some of the best drivers in the nation have had their cars blow up. I feel bad because sometimes it's a chicken and egg thing. You're not sure if it's a tune-up issue that made the car get out of the groove or driver error that let the car get out and cause the tune-up issue. The reality of it is that you have a bunch of blown-up pieces. I guess the upside is that this is the first time I've blown anything up in the car and hopefully it won't happen for a bunch more runs."
Beckman faces Del Worsham in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.