BECKMAN IN THE HUNT AS COUNTDOWN HEADS TO CONCORD CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2010) - With one race of six checked off in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Jack Beckman is sitting in...
BECKMAN IN THE HUNT AS COUNTDOWN HEADS TO CONCORD
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2010) - With one race of six checked off in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Jack Beckman is sitting in second place, 60 markers behind leader John Force.
Following his semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend, the driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger Funny Car is perched precariously in that spot, however, as his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan is just one point behind, in third. The standings have tightened up in this championship chase, and the slightest stumble by any top-10 driver at this weekend’s third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals could shuffle them dramatically.
"I think we got lucky in Indy," said Beckman, the inaugural Funny Car champion at this event in 2008. "We chased a misbehaving race car all weekend long and it just wouldn't do what it was supposed to do. Yet, we were able to advance to the semifinal round and that helped us in the standings.
"We came back to the Don Schumacher Racing shop in Brownsburg, Ind., we made some changes to the chassis, and we're very comfortable that we know what bit us in the semis at Indy and we've undone that from the car.
"So, we're confident going into Concord as far as the chassis goes. And, even though we missed getting into the final round, we actually left Indy one position ahead of where we came in. Things are so tight right now, with the way NHRA has reset the points, you could go up or down three, four positions every race for the next few races.
"With five races left we could stumble once and still have a chance at the championship. But Force is three rounds ahead of everybody right now. He widened the gap at Indy, and we're not going to let him do that again.
"Obviously, we went to win this race. In the scheme of the championship, we've got to close the distance on Force and keep the other cars behind us in Concord.
"This track has been awesome to me," added Beckman, who also reached the second round of the four-wide race here in March after qualifying No. 3. "It's one of the places where I'm very confident and comfortable going in there because of the facility and my history there. And I think what (crew chiefs) Rahn Tobler and John Collins and the DSR chassis shop were able to adjust on the Valvoline/MTS Dodge we should be right back to Brainerd (Minn.) form, where we had the dominant car (runner-up finish).
"And that's all I can ask for."