Don Schumacher Racing press release
JACK BECKMAN LOOKS TO MAKE UP GROUND AT NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS
CHANDLER, Ariz., October 10, 2011 – Jack Beckman brings the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a track here where he has had great success in a quest to pick up points on the 2011 NHRA Countdown to the Championship leaders this weekend during the 27th-annual NHRA Arizona Nationals.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver has won twice in four Funny Car races at Firebird International Raceway outside Phoenix, including last year’s event. According to Beckman, past successes might have little to do with this year’s race.
“Phoenix has been very good to me in Funny Car and Super Comp; it’s where I ran my first national event (Super Comp),” explained the driver who is licensed in 12 NHRA categories. “But a lot is different for this year. For one, there was a major redo of the track surface since we were here last time. And the race is in a different time of the year – moving (for just one time) from winter to early autumn, so the climate will be different.
“And this year it is part of the Countdown.”
Beckman believes these new qualities provide the Aaron’s/Valvoline car with an advantage.
“I think we’re one of the best hot-weather cars out there,” he said crediting crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins with mastering hot, tricky surfaces. “At the beginning of the year we were one of the better cool weather cars, but now we are very good when the tracks get warm and slippery. We let one get away in Dallas, but I think we’ll be just fine this week in Phoenix (where temperatures are expected well into the 90s).”
With three races or 12 rounds remaining in the season, the Countdown implications for the Arizona Nationals loom large.
“We’re in fifth place, less than three rounds out of first,” he explained. “If we win Phoenix, we jump right back into being one of the favorites. It’s not do or die for us like it is for the drivers in seventh to 10th place, but we can’t afford to leave here without making up some ground on the top two cars (DSR teammate Matt Hagan who leads Mike Neff by two points).
“Our team is well aware of the implications of performing well in Phoenix and we aim to do so!”