BECKMAN ON A CHARGE AS COUNTDOWN GOES TO TEXAS ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 17, 2008) - There's no holding back Jack Beckman as the second of six events of the new Countdown to 1 playoffs comes to the Texas Motorplex for this weekend's 23rd annual NHRA...
BECKMAN ON A CHARGE AS COUNTDOWN GOES TO TEXAS
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 17, 2008) - There's no holding back Jack Beckman as the second of six events of the new Countdown to 1 playoffs comes to the Texas Motorplex for this weekend's 23rd annual NHRA Fall Nationals.
Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing in only his second full season in the category, "Fast" Jack Beckman has taken the DSR1 chassis constructed in the DSR shops in Brownsburg, Ind., to four straight final rounds, grabbing the win in the opening event of the playoffs in Concord, N.C., last weekend. He now has notched three season victories in six final rounds.
The affable cancer survivor and instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School jumped from sixth in the point standings into second place with that victory and is just two markers out of the lead. He's clearly on a charge and is the hottest driver in the class since the NHRA changed the length of the track to 1000 feet from 1320 feet for safety reasons.
The top five drivers in the Countdown are separated by only 13 points, and, with five events remaining to name the champion, it is still anybody's race.
"Everything is relative to what the other nine Countdown cars do," said Beckman from the road as he traveled with his family (wife Jenna and son Jason Russell) in their motor coach from Concord to Ennis. " If two of them don't qualify and everybody else goes out first round it doesn't really change the points. At any weekend you can have a four-round swing in eliminations, five counting the car that doesn't qualify. My thought has always been if you're ahead you need to be way ahead to feel secure. If you're behind, you don't want to be too far behind. You want to keep the others within sight.
"It's interesting. It's a five-race shootout and basically you have five cars tied for the lead. We're all within a half-round of each other. So, it's going to get more critical to earn those qualifying points and take advantage of any opportunities that you have on race day.
"It's tough for us to complain right now. We went from well outside the Countdown in Denver (first race at 1000 feet) to a legitimate contender for the championship right now. So, everything that's happened to us is a plus and everybody on the Valvoline/MTS Dodge team is feeling upbeat. And I think you can see it in the attitudes of everyone on the team. They are all standing a little taller and everybody realizes we're legitimate.
"The first time I raced at the Texas Motorplex was in 1998 and I've never seen a win light there. So, we're hoping to see four of them in Sunday.
"And if we keep doing what we're doing, there's a good chance we'll be on the podium at the awards ceremony."
The Mail from Home program allows fans and competitors an opportunity to sign unique cards in the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area and at a kiosk within the U.S. Army Racing Zone at NHRA national events with messages to the U.S. troops overseas, which are then distributed free to war-zone camps by MTS. The number of postcards distributed by MTS in 2008 is expected to exceed the 90,000 mark that was reached in 2007.