Bristol: Jack Beckman preview

BECKMAN BRACED FOR BRISTOL RUN, STRAIGHT AND IN CIRCLES NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 13, 2008) - Jack Beckman is braced to compete at both the famed Bristol Dragway and Bristol Motor Speedway during this weekend's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. As...

BECKMAN BRACED FOR BRISTOL RUN, STRAIGHT AND IN CIRCLES

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 13, 2008) - Jack Beckman is braced to compete at both the famed Bristol Dragway and Bristol Motor Speedway during this weekend's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

As a contender in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class, he will drive the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T down the quarter-mile aiming for his second victory of the season. As a circle-track newbie, he will compete against his NHRA peers in the NHRA Circle Track Challenge on the half-mile paved oval across the way Saturday night.

The affable cancer survivor, former Air Force sergeant and instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School is stunned that he garnered 33 percent of the fan votes so far which will likely put him on the pole for the Circle Track Challenge once the voting is over.

"We put Bristol Dragway's release about voting for the polesitter on our nhra.com blog and it just went nuts. My dad sent it to two friends, and so on and so on and so on," explained Beckman. "Sitting on the pole may be the last time I lead that event. It's pretty cool. It will be fun. It will give me a great opportunity to get spun out early in the race, I think," he laughed.

As for the race on the quarter-mile, the eighth event of 24 for the season, "This is not do or die for us," said Beckman who is No. 8 in the rankings. "It's not, but by the same token we cannot keep struggling like we have been," he said of losing first round of eliminations in the last four events. "We haven't won a round since Gainesville and we've also got a DNQ. That's not going to keep you in the top 10. And the reality is we were in second place this year. We don't want to be in 10th place going into Indy (the last chance to get into the Countdown to 1 playoffs), we want to be way up top so we still are legitimately in the hunt for the championship.

"We just made a crew chief change," added Beckman. "We brought Johnny West on board. Johnny's only experience on this car so far is the two short squirts we made at Rockingham Dragway last week for the Valvoline commercial shoot. So, (co-crew chief) Tommy DeLago is going to be working on getting Johnny up to speed and then Phil Shuler (crew chief on the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge) came up to the commercial shoot and he'll be working with Johnny as well.

"We really need to get back on track. I think that we need to work on making solid runs on Friday because when we would get behind on Friday it would force us to use Saturday's runs to try to qualify as opposed to trying to get tuned up for Sunday. So we were always getting one run behind, and I think that's what bit us as much as anything.

"Bristol is an awesome facility," added Beckman, who qualified No. 2 there in 2007. "They really treat us good. Bristol is the first place that I've been to that shares a facility with their NASCAR track and the scenery is beautiful. It's awesome the way the drag strip goes into all these big lush trees in the shutdown area. I also like the management there. They really know how to put on a race."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Frank Hawley