BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 24, 2012) – Jack Beckman compares three consecutive weekends of racing in NHRA’s Western Swing to competing in an Ironman triathlon competition where athletes swim, cycle and run.
The most recent winner in the Funny Car category of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series compared the two with ease. Both, he says, are known for their grueling lengths and harsh conditions.
When you put it that way, it’s hard to see the difference between NHRA’s grueling Western Swing, where Beckman’s and other NHRA teams race near Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Kent, Wash., in three straight weeks.
“It’s interesting that the Western Swing used to be the only time where we had back-to-back races,” he said. “The biggest difference is the mileage that the teams have to go.
“It’s like the Ironman deal; we ate up eight rounds worth of parts in the first race. So the guys have to service, load up and head to Sonoma only to unload again.
“And they had no chance to go back to the shop near Indy and replenish what we’ve used.”
The Valvoline NextGen team has plenty of extra parts and pieces to go the rest of the way, which includes a race Aug. 17-19 at Brainerd, Minn., before heading back to Don Schumacher Racing headquarters outside of Indianapolis.
But Beckman hopes they come back with some extra baggage, in the form of two more Wally trophies to go with their most recent one earned at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway at Morrison, Colo.
“To start off on a high like this, it’s a thrill to see if we can keep up the momentum. We ran well up at that high altitude, and the reality is now we are trying to find data for sea level.
“It couldn’t be a more different approach heading into Sonoma. We’ve already demonstrated that we can run well at sea level as we showed that in Topeka when we won so we have a good starting point to go from.”
Beckman’s best starting point might be when he’s joined on the road by his wife, Jenna, and their two children who accompany him on the 450-mile journey from their home in Norco, Calif. to Sonoma.
JACK BECKMAN: Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Career at Sonoma: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2011); poles 1 (2010)
2011 at Sonoma: Qualified No. 6; lost in first round to Johnny Gray
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(unofficial through July 22; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight, 1,060
2. RON CAPPS, 994
3. Mike Neff, 863
4. JACK BECKMAN, 862
5. JOHNNY GRAY, 766
6. Courtney Force, 701
7. Cruz Pedregon, 680
8. Jeff Arend, 661
9. Bob Tasca III, 654
10. John Force, 643
11. Tim Wilkerson, 573
12. Alexis DeJoria, 494
13. MATT HAGAN, 491
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