JACK BECKMAN STARTS EIGHTH IN SOUTHERN NATIONALS
COMMERCE, Ga., May 14, 2011 – Jack Beckman drove the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the top half of the field today for Sunday’s 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
Coming out of the eighth-starting position, Beckman will face Melanie Troxel in the first round of the sixth event on the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule.
The 44-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver, although not thrilled with his qualifying position, acknowledged the positive aspects of his team’s performance in light of an especially tricky qualifying period.
“The Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Funny Car is usually a better qualifier than this, but at the end of the day, we are in the top half of the field and have lane choice in the opening round,” said the Southern Californian. “It might not be what we wanted or expected of ourselves, but we are still in a great position for Sunday’s race.
“It was an interesting, challenging two days of qualifying, thanks to track delays coupled with changing weather conditions. It was hot, it was humid, it was cloudy, it rained and it was cool at different times during the two days, often changing within an individual round, especially as we waited for the on-track delays to end.”
Beckman earned his place in the field in the second round on Friday night with a 4.135-second pass at 307.65 miles per hour, which he thinks might be a good omen for the race.
“It is likely the (weather and track) conditions will be different on Sunday than they were today,” he said. “Based on the weather forecast, tomorrow might be like Friday night, which would be a good thing.
“Regardless, I’m confident in our chances. We have a hot race car right now and are very anxious to do well tomorrow in front of the large Aaron’s contingent at the track. Atlanta is their headquarters and it’s exciting to see how into our sport they’ve become in this, their first year. We want to give them a very long day, with a trophy at the end!”
Beckman, who scored a victory last month in Charlotte, starts the Southern Nationals in third place of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship standings, trailing Mike Neff and Robert Hight.