Indy ORP: Jack Beckman preview

BOLSTERED BY READING WIN, BECKMAN TARGETS U.S. NATIONALS NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2008) - Bolstered by his two straight final-round appearances and one triumph in the last two events of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Jack...

BOLSTERED BY READING WIN, BECKMAN TARGETS U.S. NATIONALS

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2008) - Bolstered by his two straight final-round appearances and one triumph in the last two events of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Jack Beckman aims for his first U.S. Nationals victory this weekend in Indianapolis.

In only his second full season of pro nitro Funny Car competition, the driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car has charged up the ladder in the point standings in the last five races to clinch a berth in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which begin following this weekend's 54th annual U.S. Nationals.

"It's interesting," says Beckman, who's won twice this season in four final rounds, "because it's anti-climactic in one way. This is the last regular season game - to make the baseball analogy - and we've already made the playoffs. So we don't have to worry about that.

"But it is the U.S. Nationals. We get one more qualifying session than at any other race, and we get two night runs. Our Achilles' Heel this year has been those night runs. And with 21 or so cars showing up (to vie for 16 starting spots) we're really going to have to try to run well in one of those to get a good qualifying position.

"There is this aura that surrounds this event, and there is great prestige that comes with winning it. Next year they're doubling the purse, but I won't mind taking home a half-purse this year.

"It's interesting. Growing up in the West Coast the Winternationals (in Pomona, Calif.) is always the big race for me, but every racer who has raced for several years will tell you that the U.S. Nationals is the one that kind of completes the resume.

"It's like a marathon. You're there for what seems like a month. Every other race we go to, with the exception of Pomona, is a three-day race, and at Indy we're racing for four days, but we're there for six days. It almost becomes a survival of the fittest, especially if it is hot and humid."

The popular and highly-successful Mail from Home program instituted by Mail Terminal Services in 2007 as part of the company's support of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car that Beckman drives will be featured on the car this weekend in honor of the U.S. troops overseas.

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.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher