Indy ORP: Jack Beckman preview

CONSISTENCY EARNS BECKMAN SLOTS IN COUNTDOWN AND SHOWDOWN NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2007) - In only his first full season of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition, Jack Beckman and the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger...

CONSISTENCY EARNS BECKMAN SLOTS IN COUNTDOWN AND SHOWDOWN

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2007) - In only his first full season of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition, Jack Beckman and the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T crew have demonstrated a remarkable string of consistent performances to place them solidly in the new Countdown to the Championship and in the $100,000 Skoal Showdown bonus event.

After 17 races to qualify in the top eight for the Countdown, the new phase of the run to the championship begins at this weekend's prestigious U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The Countdown to Four kicks in as eight drivers compete for the top four positions to take them to the final two national events to crown the champion.

"It's exciting," said Beckman, two-time winner this season, who has qualified in the top half of the 16-car field for the last nine events, "because it's going to be the first year that NHRA is doing the Countdown, and we're in it and we're solid, and I have to thank crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler for that."

As for the Skoal Showdown for the top eight funny Car drivers who have earned the most points during qualifying in a 23-race span, "it looked for a while like we may not be able to make that and then the last five or six races we've been steadily qualifying in the top four and we made it," said Beckman.

"This is the second time I'll compete at the U.S. Nationals in a nitro class. I've raced Super Comp, Top Fuel and now Funny Car. And it's definitely my best chance of leaving with my first U.S. Nationals win and we even have the potential to double up." A $50,000 double-up bonus will go to the Funny Car driver who wins both the U.S. Nationals and the Showdown.

"Not that we need any extra incentive and not that any round is more important than another one, but now we've only got 16 rounds left to make the Countdown to Four, so every round is important. You can't afford any slipups," added Beckman. "We had 68 rounds to make the top eight, and everybody in the top eight had at least one DNQ, so back then you could make a mistake and still have a reasonable shot at making it. Not so anymore.

"Winning the U.S. Nationals would be huge," said Beckman. "A lot of people say it's a career-making deal. Growing up on the West Coast, the Winternationals (at Pomona, Calif.) was always the biggest race for me, but now that I've been exposed to more of the tour by going to other tracks, the prestige that goes with Indy is absolutely second to none."

Mail Terminal Services will feature Camp Diamondback this weekend at the U.S. Nationals, in its "Mail from Home" program. Postcards will be available to send to this war-zone camp at the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area as well as at a kiosk in the U.S. Army "Racing Zone," the U.S. Army Interactive area located in Nitro Alley.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher