Topeka: Jack Beckman preview

FOR JACK BECKMAN, THE SEASON IS STILL YOUNG NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 26, 2009) - For Jack Beckman, the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season is still young, with just one third of it having been completed as the teams head to the...

FOR JACK BECKMAN, THE SEASON IS STILL YOUNG

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 26, 2009) - For Jack Beckman, the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season is still young, with just one third of it having been completed as the teams head to the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas this weekend.

Beckman and the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car he drives for Don Schumacher Racing are holding steady in fifth place in the point standings after one victory in two final rounds and 11 round wins so far this year. The Countdown to 1 playoffs (for the top 10 in points) in the final six events of the season are not quite looming yet, as Beckman and the Valvoline/MTS team continue to search for that ideal tune-up.

'We're coming off a test session in Bristol (Tenn.) last week," said Beckman, a cancer survivor and former Air Force sergeant. "We made five runs on Monday after the last race and it wasn't a test session where you say, 'OK, load this car up, we have the best hot rod now.' It was a test session where we got a lot of data and it showed us some things. It doesn't mean that we fixed all of our problems. It means we're headed in the right direction towards getting a consistently quick car.

"We're not far enough into the season that people are assured of having made it into the Countdown or have broken their chances of making it into the Countdown. But we are far enough into the season that if you're going to have a slump it better not last very long if you want to have an opportunity to win the championship at the end of the year.

"We're in a good position. We've got two finals and one win and we're a top-five car right now, but we have to make absolutely certain that we get the data together for hot-weather race tracks so that we don't get into a slump. We need to do what we did last year, which was gain a lot of ground on the top cars through this part of the year and into the later part of the season." Beckman is already ahead of where he was at this stage in 2008. He arrived in Topeka last year ranked 11th in the standings and ended the year third in championship points.

"These next four races (Topeka, Chicago, Englishtown, N.J., and Norwalk, Ohio) are not critical for the championship, but they're crucial for the teams psychologically and points-wise to perform consistently well, and there is nothing better for a team's psyche than to win a race."

Mail Terminal Services continues 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 to hit a 120,000-card record for one season.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher