BECKMAN FIRST-ROUND FINISHER IN TEXAS FUNNY CAR DEBUT ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 24, 2006) - NHRA Super Comp champion and former Top Fuel racer Jack Beckman made his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car debut this weekend with Don Schumacher...
BECKMAN FIRST-ROUND FINISHER IN TEXAS FUNNY CAR DEBUT
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 24, 2006) - NHRA Super Comp champion and former Top Fuel racer Jack Beckman made his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car debut this weekend with Don Schumacher Racing at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals and came home a first-round finisher after qualifying No. 15 in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T.
Beckman squared off against Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round at the Texas Motorplex, taking off at the starting lights with a very respectable .097-of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Johnson's .089. The two were side by side through the 330-ft. mark until Beckman lost traction mid-track, resulting in a 6.556-second elapsed time at 131.32 mph at the finish line to Johnson's winning 4.826/308.71.
"If you look at the early numbers on that run, that probably was going to be low ET of the round," said Beckman. "Todd (Okuhara, crew chief) thinks it might have been a 4.75 or .76.
"But, we didn't have lane choice and we moved over a little to the right part of the groove because we thought a few cars were having problems in that (right) lane. I let it get a little too far over to the right and as soon as it got out of the groove it overpowered the race track," he added.
"The tune-up was there, the car had enough ET to win the round. It's just a matter of keeping it in the part of the track where the horsepower gets to the ground.
"I'm more disappointed in letting down the Matco Tools crew and all the Matco Tools distributors who are supporting me. It might have been the quickest car here this weekend. I know it's got to be disappointing for the guys, but they've been more supportive than you could ever ask for.
"It wasn't the result I had hoped for," he said of his national-event debut in the Funny Car class, "but the good news is we have two more races over a two-week period. For me, it's a steep learning curve, and I have to do what a Funny Car driver does.
"You always want to do the best that you can all the time. I'm excited and upbeat, but I don't think anybody gets out of the car after a loss and feels fantastic right away. There's always that disappointment phase that takes a while to wear off.
"In a couple hours I'll be looking forward to next weekend at Maple Grove (Raceway), and I'm sure that will be a fast one as well."
Next up for Beckman is the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway (Reading, Pa.), Sept. 29-Oct. 1.