NORWALK, Ohio (July 7, 2012) – With track temperatures reaching the mid-140s, crew chiefs and drivers were facing conditions they hadn’t seen in years. But that’s when Jack Beckman, crew chief Todd Smith and the Schumacher Electric/Valvoline NextGen team shined the brightest.
Beckman and company opened up the weekend at Summit Motorsports Park in northern Ohio with the quickest Funny Car run of the session.
“What an interesting weekend,” said Beckman. “The hottest track conditions we’ve seen in, I think, five years. We were quickest first session, absolutely slowest in the second session where everybody that ran, ran good.
“When that happened, we knew the best that we were going to be was 13th and we stepped right back up and were the very quickest in the third session and didn’t have a bad fourth session.”
With air temperatures in the mid-90s and the track surface a scorching 140 degrees, Beckman’s Schumacher Electric Funny car skated right down the track during the heat of the day, something many of the 8,000-horsepower machines struggled to do.
“We’ve ran pretty good in the heat,” he said. “This is going to be one of those races where race day is actually better than qualifying. We can probably throw out a lot of the data from these four runs and go back to our notes for eliminations tomorrow.”
The only downside of the weekend was that since the team was unable to make a stout Friday night run, it was nearly impossible to improve on Saturday and the lack of changes in the order resulted in a pairing of Don Schumacher teammates Beckman and Ron Capps.
Capps ranks second in the Full Throttle standings and Beckman is third. The teammates have met twice this season and each has won once. But Capps lost to Beckman at Topeka, Kan., when the race was for the event title.
“We’ve got to face our teammate (Ron Capps) and they’ve got more pages of notes for us but I’m pretty confident in this team. To run that well in the three hot sessions is cool.”
NHRA eliminations will kick off in somewhat cooler weather from Norwalk, Ohio on Sunday at 11 a.m.
No. 1 qualifier: Johnny Gray 4.094 sec., 306.33 mph
Jack Beckman, Schumacher Electric/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 13
First round opponent: Ron Capps
Session 1: 4.238 sec., 293.73 mph
Session 2: 7.592, 88.12
Session 3: 4.310, 283.25
Session 4: 4.366, 278.86
FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE
Sunday: 11 a.m., Championship eliminations
Sunday: 8-11 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations (delayed)
Sunday: High of 83; 30 percent chance of isolated thundershowers
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