Route 66 Raceway
Jack Beckman Grabs Fourth-Starting Position For Route 66 NHRA Nationals
On the strength of a Friday-evening qualifying run, Jack Beckman drove the Valvoline/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the third-starting spot for Sunday’s 14th-annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals here at Route 66 Raceway.
A 4.139-second, 291.51-mile-per-hour pass in the second-qualifying session means the Don Schumacher Racing driver will meet 13th-qualifier Robert Hight in the opening round of eliminations, which are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CT.
“I know this may sound a bit crazy to some, but a race against Robert Hight is exactly what we want,” said the Southern Californian. “We want to race Robert because he is breathing right down our neck in the standings, so this gives us an opportunity to put some distance between us if we win the round.
“You have to beat your top competitors to win a championship and Robert is right up there with the very best, regardless of his qualifying position for any one race.”
Beckman entered the weekend occupying second place in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, behind Mike Neff (on the pole for Sunday’s race) and in front of Hight, Cruz Pedregon and DSR teammate Matt Hagan (respectively).
“I still think at this stage of the season, before the Countdown to 1 playoffs begin, winning races is more important than accumulating points, because the points totals get reset for the Countdown,” said Beckman. “But, being higher in the top 10 means a better position in the Countdown, which has some importance.”
A weather forecast of potentially greater heat for Sunday’s race than what occurred during the two days of qualifying concerns Beckman.
“We were up and down in the heat during qualifying,” he said. “Since we ran much later in the day (sessions began at 5 p.m. CT), Rahn (Tobler), does not have great data to work from for the race, but this is true for all of the crew chiefs. I have confidence, though, because Rahn has done a great job all season at getting the Valvoline/Aaron’s car down track.”
Of greater concern than the weather for the 45-year-old driver is the condition of his wife Jenna, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child.
“Complications with the pregnancy sent Jenna into the hospital Friday,” he said. “They may have to perform a ‘C-section’ Tuesday, about three weeks before the baby, our second child, is due.
“I’d love to bring her – and the baby – a Wally.”
By: don schumacher racing