Jack Beckman Captures Second Win Of 2011 To Move Into Second Place In Funny Car Standings
COMMERCE, Ga. – Jack Beckman drove the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a close victory over Mike Neff in the finals of today’s 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
The 44-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver, with a 4.111-second, 311.05 mile-per-hour lap, outran Neff’s 4.119 at 305.49 mile-per-hour pass. In addition, Beckman moved into second place in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, closing to within 20 points of Neff’s lead.
To reach the finals, Beckman defeated Melanie Troxel in the opening round, then number-one qualifier John Force in the quarterfinals and, in the semifinals, Cruz Pedregon. He was the quickest in each of those rounds turning in consecutive elapsed times of 4.083, 4.107 and 4.095 seconds
“Rahn Tobler (crew chief) and John Collins (assistant crew chief) really got it right today,” he explained. “Rahn is a conservative crew chief, never straying outside of his comfort zone, but with each successful pass, turning it up a tick. A lot of crew chiefs will swing for the fences and push their cars beyond the track’s capabilities; that’s not Rahn’s style.
“These guys have been great throughout the season, really getting the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline car right and making me one ‘Lucky Dog.’”
According to Beckman, defeating Force and his teammate Neff sweetens the entire experience. He last beat the two of them during the second round of his first 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series win last month at the 4-Wide race in Charlotte.
“Any win is a good thing,” he said. “But, taking on and defeating a John Force Racing car, let alone two, is an especially nice topping for a ‘Sundae.’
Any win is a good thing.
“And it was also terrific winning in front of the Aaron’s ‘hometown’ crowd. With the company headquarters here in Atlanta, there were a lot of Aaron’s folks here throughout the weekend, and we really wanted to give them a chance to enjoy the winner’s circle and show everyone in the drag racing world – ‘nobody beats Aaron’s!’”
It was his second Southern Nationals win (2009) and 11th since his 2006 Funny Car rookie season.
Beckman, along with his drag-racing colleagues, travel next weekend to Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) for the 23rd annual NHRA Summer Nationals.