BECKMAN'S ROLE AS SPOILER NOT HIGH ON HIS LIST LAS VEGAS (Oct. 24, 2007) - Having a role as a potential spoiler in the final two events of the Countdown to One playoffs, beginning with this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip...
BECKMAN'S ROLE AS SPOILER NOT HIGH ON HIS LIST
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 24, 2007) - Having a role as a potential spoiler in the final two events of the Countdown to One playoffs, beginning with this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is not high on Jack Beckman's list. The final event to name the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champions out of the top four is the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Nationals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 1-4.
As the defending champion of this event, the driver of the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is aiming to repeat that success and not even consider his role as a spoiler. He's a thinker, however, and he won't deny that, while he's not in the Countdown, he has tossed around various scenarios in his mind.
"Boy, I hate being called a spoiler," said Beckman, a two-time winner this season in three final rounds and fifth in the standings. "That's a tough moniker to have attached to you. What it means is you're not running for the championship any longer.
"It's going to be interesting. John (Force) got Mike Neff licensed, and if Neff drives this weekend, and John puts Jeff Burkart in his car, he's going to have effectively three blockers for Robert (Hight, third in points), including daughter Ashley. There's a good likelihood our DSR Funny Cars of Gary Scelzi (No. 2) and Ron Capps (No. 4) will meet in eliminations in the next two races and they're fighting for everything.
"If we meet them, our goal for our sponsors is to get that trophy at the end of the day. It's going to get real interesting. And (No. 1) Tony Pedregon has his brother Cruz, who is not in the Countdown, as a potential blocker."
(Note: the report from the John Force Racing camp is that the decision to have Neff and Burkart drive at Las Vegas has not been made.)
"Capps had pretty much run away with the round wins all season and now he's found himself ironically a round and a half back with eight rounds to go," added Beckman. "That's going to be tough to make up. With the maximum of four rounds you could gain at one race, it's going to be interesting. Positions have changed so many times throughout the year that it could easily happen again in Vegas and make Pomona that much more exciting."
Beckman returns this weekend to the site of his remarkable rookie victory in 2006. In the last five events of last season, after taking over the wheel of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger, Beckman won one event in two final rounds, qualified No. 1 once, and set national records in both elapsed time and top speed. He still holds the top-speed record of 333.66 mph. His elapsed-time record of 4.662 seconds, however, has been eclipsed.