Las Vegas: Jack Beckman debut preview

BECKMAN COUNTING DOWN TO TOP FUEL DEBUT LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Like a wide-eyed youngster eagerly waiting for Christmas morning, Jack Beckman is counting the hours until he makes his Top Fuel debut at this weekend's Summitracing.com NHRA nationals...

BECKMAN COUNTING DOWN TO TOP FUEL DEBUT

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Like a wide-eyed youngster eagerly waiting for Christmas morning, Jack Beckman is counting the hours until he makes his Top Fuel debut at this weekend's Summitracing.com NHRA nationals in Las Vegas. The recently licensed Beckman will be making his professional debut behind the wheel of Dexter Tuttle's Menards/Mail Terminal Services/DHL Top Fuel dragster.

"Excited wouldn't even begin to describe how I feel right now," stated Beckman. "I feel like the high school kid who's been standing alone in the corner for hours and the prettiest girl just came over and asked me to dance. Racing a Top Fuel dragster is what I've wanted to do for the last 30 years and its incredible to think that its actually about to become a reality. Any time I go to the races, I never miss the first round of Top Fuel, even if it means running to the fence to get a good spot. This weekend is different. I plan on having one of the best seats in the house. If I'm strapped in that car when they play the National Anthem on Sunday morning, it will be the realization of a lot of my hopes and dreams."

The 2003 NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp champion, Beckman recently received his NHRA competition license in Top Fuel. During a two-week test session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, one of the premiere facilities on the NHRA tour. Having cranked out a number of four second runs, including a best of 4.75 at nearly 300-mph, Beckman rightfully expects to qualify for Sunday's final elimination rounds.

"The Menards/MTS Top Fuel car ran well in testing, and we're confident that it can run a lot quicker," he said. "[Crew chief] Jimmy Walsh had a pretty conservative tune-up on the car for most of my license runs. Now, we can push a little harder. I know how tough the competition in Top Fuel is, but I'll be bitterly disappointed if we don't qualify. I believe this team is capable of winning some rounds."

Beckman will not only be making his Top Fuel debut in Las Vegas, but the versatile driver, who makes his living as an instructor in Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, will also be doing double-duty behind the wheel of Frank Dischbein's Las Vegas based Top Alcohol Dragster, honoring a commitment he made earlier this year.

"It's going to be tough racing two cars especially since they are completely different to drive, but I feel confident that I can pull it off," Beckman continued. "Obviously, the Top Fuel car will be my first priority. I'm hoping this weekend will be just the start of a nice long career."

-br-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman