Beckman looks to add his name to esteemed Indy winner's list INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As a tribute to the drag racing heroes he has admired since his childhood, "Fast Jack" Beckman had the names of every NHRA U.S. Nationals Top Fuel champion ...
Beckman looks to add his name to esteemed Indy winner's list
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As a tribute to the drag racing heroes he has admired since his childhood, "Fast Jack" Beckman had the names of every NHRA U.S. Nationals Top Fuel champion lettered on the wing of the "Blackbird" dragster that he drove to the NHRA Super Comp World Championship in 2003. Today, Beckman has the opportunity to add his own name to that list as he prepares to make his U.S. Nationals debut behind the wheel of the Menards/Mail Terminal Services Top Fuel dragster.
"As most everyone knows, I am not just a driver, I am also a huge fan of drag racing," said the highly enthusiastic Beckman, who is currently ranked 15th in the NHRA Top Fuel standings, despite competing in just seven of 17 events in 2005. "I love this sport and everything about it. That's why I can't treat the U.S. Nationals as just another race. It is the oldest and most prestigious event on the NHRA POWERade tour and I'm honored just to be a part of it. I also couldn't think of a better place for the Menards/Mail Terminal Services team to make its first final round appearance than at Indianapolis Raceway Park."
After running a career best 4.56 at over 324-mph at the recent Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Beckman has plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. Though they are not scheduled to run the entire 2005 POWERade tour, the Menards/MTS team, led by car owner Dexter Tuttle and crew chief Jimmy Walsh, has proven that they can compete with anyone.
"We have all the best parts and a first-rate crew chief in Jimmy Walsh so I am convinced that we will be in the thick of the battle on race day," said Beckman. "Jimmy recently changed our combination in order for us to be more competitive and I believe we started to see the results of that change in Brainerd when we ran 4.56 and qualified in the top half of the field."
As the biggest race on the NHRA calendar, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals usually attracts the largest and most competitive Top Fuel field of the year with as many as 28 entries competing for 16 qualifying spots. Unlike other events, which feature four qualifying rounds, professional competitors at Indy receive five qualifying runs over three days, with final eliminations set for Labor Day, September 5.
"I have achieved many personal goals this year," said Beckman, who earned his Top Fuel license in early 2005 after a bout with Lymphoma in 2004. "When I am strapped in the Menards/Mail Terminal Services dragster on the starting line at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Monday morning, that will mark the fulfillment of another life-long goal."
Note: As part of his ongoing effort to reach out to young cancer patients, Beckman will appear at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis on Friday, September 2.