BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 12, 2012) - For Jack Beckman and Don Schumacher Racing's Valvoline NextGen team, it's back to where it began and that's a good thing.
Beckman entered the spring event at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMax Dragway at Concord, N.C., not fully knowing what to expect after team owner Don Schumacher brought in veteran tuner Todd Smith and swapped crews from DSR's NAPA AUTO PARTS team to Beckman's and moved Beckman's crew chief, Rahn Tobler, to Ron Capps' NAPA Dodger Charger R/T.
When Beckman's team returns to zMAX this weekend, it enters with high expectations of qualifying at the top of the field and leaving with its third NHRA Wally trophy.
"We know we have a great racecar," Beckman said. "We've qualified no worse than second the last five times out and clearly we can win every time we go to the track."
Although the team suffered a parts malfunction at the last event on Sunday at the U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis they were able to secure the third spot in Full Throttle points standings for the Countdown to the Championship, which begins this weekend at the track near Charlotte.
"We absolutely underachieved in Indy," he said. "We had a $5 air fitting break and we were doomed from the time we did our burnout, there was no way that car was going to get down the track.
"Now that we are in the Countdown, you absolutely are not going to be able to have that sort of parts malfunction, there's no excuse and you can't have any early exits if you want to run for the championship."
Beckman, a two-time winner at zMax Dragway, has had few early exits in his career at the track.
"Charlotte's been a track that historically I've done well at. It was the first race that Todd Smith came on board, the 4-Wide Nationals in April. So this kind of represents full circle for the current Valvoline NextGen team.
"It's the only track that Todd already has Funny Car tuning data from. I have no reason to think that we won't pick up in qualifying where we left off and be near the top of the (qualifying) sheets, and then this time on Sunday it will be our job to convert that into round wins.
"I'm feeling very, very confident going into Charlotte."
Below are Beckman's statistics and other notes.
Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Career at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Wins 2 (2008, 2011), Runner-up 1 (2010), Poles 0
April 2012 at CMS: Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals of Four-Wide
September 2011 at CMS: Qualified No. 4, lost in final round
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
Countdown to the Championship
Official thru Sept. 9, 2012
(Points reset for six-event Countdown; points leaders receive 20-point bonus; DSR drivers CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 2,110
2. Robert Hight, 2,080
3. JACK BECKMAN, 2,070
4. Mike Neff, 2,060
5. JOHNNY GRAY, 2,050
6. Courtney Force, 2,040
7. Cruz Pedregon, 2,030
8. John Force, 2,020
9. Jeff Arend, 2,010
10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,000
Did not qualify: MATT HAGAN
Friday: 4 and 6:30 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 1, 3:30 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: Noon, eliminations
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The fields are set for each of the four Full Throttle professional categories heading to the six-event Countdown to the Championship.
The points will be reset at 10-point increments for the Countdown contestants and the points leaders after Indy, which was the 17th event of the year, getting 20-point bonus so they will start the Countdown with 30-point leads in Top Fuel (Antron Brown), Funny Car (Ron Capps), Pro Stock (Allen Johnson) and Pro Stock Motorcycle Eddie Krawiec).
Only the top-10 drivers can contend for season championships but all drivers entered in the last six events will contend with Countdown drivers for event points and titles. The best season finish for non-Countdown driver can be 11th.
Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts
"Fast Jack" Beckman will continue as spokesperson for the "Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts™" program when shares his experiences as a cancer survivor at a special interactive video booth throughout the race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMAX Dragway.
Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts campaign features a video booth traveling around the country to collect personal stories from patients, survivors and caregivers about their own experiences with cancer. "The hope is that these stories will help newly diagnosed patients and their families and friends during their fight with cancer," Beckman says.
Visit www.chemomythsorfacts.com to learn more about the campaign.
Valvoline, a brand of Ashland Inc., has been serving American motorists longer than any other motor oil. The Valvoline family of products includes Eagle One™ appearance products, Car Brite™ car restoration products, Zerex™ antifreeze, SynPower™ performance products, MaxLife™ products created for higher-mileage engines and NextGen™ motor oil, created with 50 percent recycled oil.
With more than 820 locations throughout the United States, Valvoline Instant Oil Change™ is a leader in serving the quick lube market.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 191 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
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