BECKMAN LEADS DSR ONE-TWO-THREE QUALIFYING EFFORT IN RICHMOND DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 10, 2009) - Taking advantage of ideal, cool autumn conditions on a stellar Virginia Motorsports Park drag strip (south of Richmond, Va.), following occasional ...
BECKMAN LEADS DSR ONE-TWO-THREE QUALIFYING EFFORT IN RICHMOND
DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 10, 2009) - Taking advantage of ideal, cool autumn conditions on a stellar Virginia Motorsports Park drag strip (south of Richmond, Va.), following occasional slow-downs of activities because of rain sprinkles, "Fast" Jack Beckman led the Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car triumvirate to a one-two-three qualifying effort at the NHRA Virginia Nationals.
Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge, Beckman grabbed his first pole position of the season and the second of his career by posting a career-best 4.044-second pass at 305.22 mph in the final qualifying session.
Beckman edged out his teammate Ron Capps' 4.046/308.71, set in the pair directly in front of him. His other DSR teammate Matt Hagan entered the final session in the No. 1 spot, which he had earned in the third session, of 4.051/309.49. With Hagan set to run at the end of this round, nothing was set in stone, as he had slipped to third. Hagan smoked the tires at the hit, the other teams did not advance, and the day ended with the DSR Funny Cars one-two-three.
"Great conditions," said Beckman, at the top end. "I'm a little bit sad we're not coming back to Virginia next year (VMP is not on NHRA's 2010 schedule). "These conditions are unbelievable and this race track has rapidly turned into one of, if not the, fastest tracks on the tour.
"As a drag race fan when I was strapped in that Funny Car and we were towing up and I'm watching all these 4.0 (-second) runs in front of me, I said, Oh my God, I don't know if I've seen a session this good maybe since Pomona a couple of years ago.
"There was some great quality cars behind us, but that was a stout number. I knew that we didn't leave a whole lot on the table in that run, so it was going to be pretty good. They were going to have to be darn near perfect for them to get around us.
"It's always interesting watching the television monitor down there and watching all these cars, flames roof high, [going] right down the middle of the lane, charging. And, in your mind, [you see] that it looks like it's going to be pretty close to us. And a lot of them came close after we ran.
"That's just awesome," he said of the DSR one-two-three. "I think that (Hagan's crew chief) Tommy DeLago can take a bow for helping us run that number because he showed us what the track was capable of (in the third session). It's interesting that a a lot of times the advantage of running later in the session is just to see what the race track is capable of.
"And when people go out there and run a 4.09, you think, OK, if we can hit a home run we can run a 4.08. Well, Matt goes out there and runs a 4.05 in the third session. So, I think Tommy D. showed us what the bar was set at. So, we knew the track was going to give low 4s if we could hit the tune-up right.
'We knew we could turn the screws up on our car and do that. We saw Capps run the 4.04 but it was in the other lane. We weren't sure that right lane was quite as good, and it was. (Crew chief) Johnny West, (DSR team manager) Lee Beard and (assistant crew chief) John Collins made absolutely the right call."
Beckman earned three qualifying bonus points (in the Countdown to 1 playoffs) for his effort and will face John Smith in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations.