BECKMAN BRACES FOR POINTS BATTLE IN READING MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 5, 2010) - With just three national events remaining in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the rankings in the run for the...
BECKMAN BRACES FOR POINTS BATTLE IN READING
MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 5, 2010) - With just three national events remaining in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the rankings in the run for the Funny Car championship have tightened. Only 68 points separate the top four in the standings, and Jack Beckman, in third, is braced for the battle to win his first class crown.
Racing the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing, Beckman is just 45 markers behind leader John Force and 20 back of his DSR teammate Matt Hagan in second. This weekend's 26th annual NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, outside of Reading, Pa., is pivotal in everyone's quest for the championship.
"I don't feel that our backs are against the wall," said Beckman, who suffered defeat in the second round to fourth-place Ashley Force Hood at the last event in Dallas when a freak fire erupted in the car, "but we're not far away from the wall right now. We are in a position where we find ourselves a little more than two rounds out with 12 rounds to go. And if we can win at Reading we will absolutely be at least one round closer to the points lead.
"We had a fuel system malfunction that the Valvoline/MTS guys think they have a handle on in the second round of Dallas. Actually, it had been rearing its head since the last qualifying run and we were changing parts trying to keep up with it. Obviously, we didn't find it and it caused us problems with the fire in the second round.
"The guys completely stripped the car down to the bare chassis, and they replaced anything that was a question mark. So, we should have our car back this weekend for Maple Grove.
"When you have nitromethane in the tank sometimes these cars can give you question marks," added Beckman, who's won once this year in five final rounds. "It's not like Pro Stock where, if you enjoy a performance advantage, you're almost a shoo-in for the final round. In nitro racing anything can happen and, if you've watched the last coupe of races, that's exactly what has transpired.
"We realize that we are one of the top cars, there is not a dominant car right now, and we're going to have to enjoy a little bit of racing luck. We can start making that Friday on our first qualifying run. If we can start qualifying near the top we'll automatically give ourselves a better chance first round (of eliminations).
"The three of us behind John Force are chasing him, and the way it's shaping up right now it looks like it might be a showdown between two Force cars and two DSR cars.
"There's also a couple of teams outside of the top four that could jump back in with a good showing this weekend, but all we've ever asked for is a chance at this championship, to roll into Pomona (Calif., season finale) with a legitimate shot. And the way I'm looking at this thing right now, that means not necessarily that we must win in Reading, but we have to get this Valvoline/MTS car into the final round.
"I've won there before (in 2008), I've had great luck there before, and there's definitely a comfort zone at Maple Grove for me."