BECKMAN QUALIFIES NO. 9 IN ST. LOUIS, FACES J. FORCE IN FIRST ROUND MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Jack Beckman qualified for the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Int'l Raceway for the first time in his three Funny Car appearances here, claiming...
BECKMAN QUALIFIES NO. 9 IN ST. LOUIS, FACES J. FORCE IN FIRST ROUND
MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Jack Beckman qualified for the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Int'l Raceway for the first time in his three Funny Car appearances here, claiming the ninth position with a 4.178-second pass at 299.80 mph.
Only two rounds of qualifying were held today after Friday's nitro sessions were rained out. Atlanta winner Beckman's first outing in the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge resulted in a tire-smoking 5.340-second lap at 136.50 mph, which placed him No. 10.
He improved in the second round, recording a 4.178-second pass at a class top speed of 299.80 mph, moving him into No. 9.
Beckman's first-round opponent on Sunday will be 14-time Funny Car champion John Force, against whom he has a 7-4 round-win record and whom he's defeated in their last three meetings. If Beckman wins their opening-round face-off on Sunday, he will be only the fourth driver ever to beat John Force in four straight encounters.
"I hear Monday is Force's birthday, so anybody who would like to take him out partying tonight I will sponsor part of that," said Beckman with a laugh. "I would love to wish him an early happy birthday tomorrow by letting him take the rest of the day off.
"It's going to be exciting. We stepped up quite a bit on that second run and obviously so did every other car out there and sometimes that's just a function of not running too good in the first run," he explained. "We had to run near the front of the pack on run two and I think by us laying down that run it let a lot of the other crew chiefs know that they could go after it.
"That's just the way it happens. That's why running good out of the trailer is fairly important here. It becomes a strategy. But that's all right. As I said before, we're not spectacular in qualifying, but on race day we are definitely one of the top performers."