BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 28, 2012) - Typically the cure to an ailing Achilles Heel is rest. But that’s not the approach Jack Beckman and the Valvoline NextGen team led by crew chief Todd Smith took.
The team spent two days testing at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis last week in preparation for the U.S. Nationals and NHRA’s six-race playoff format, the Countdown to the Championship.
Smith had the game plan set headed into testing, and they just needed to figure out one thing about their Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
“Our car has been running great,” Beckman said. “In all conditions, it’s been awesome. Our Achilles Heel has been these runs that crop up when it gets out there to 400 or 500 feet on the track and once in a while it will spin the tires.”
Smith knew the steps he needed to take to cure the problem.
“The first thing we did at the test was to reconfigure our clutch application to try to fix that and we did,” Beckman said. “Then we tested a lot of our spare parts to make sure that in the Countdown if we had to change something we had an equally good replacement for it.
“We were able to test a new clutch and clutch discs. Testing for the sake of practice just wears out parts. Testing is productive when you have things that you want to try or change and see what results you get so you can make a list and cross things off. I think we had a real successful test.”
Now it’s about turning that successful test into a successful U.S. Nationals, the biggest event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
“The interesting thing is Indy has bounced back and forth to being the last race of the regular season and the first race of the Countdown,” Beckman said. “The reality is you can put Indy in December and it wouldn’t matter because it’s still going to be the biggest race of the year.
“Winning four rounds on Monday means everything to a team. You want that on your resume.”
The following are Beckman’s stats and other notes.
JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
2011 at Indy: Qualified No. 5; lost in second round to Matt Hagan
Career at Indy: Wins 0, Runner-ups 1 (2008), Poles 0
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Aug. 19, Brainerd, Minn.; 16 of 23 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 1,228
2. Robert Hight, 1,175
3. JACK BECKMAN, 1,068
4. JOHNNY GRAY, 999
5. Mike Neff, 988
6. Courtney Force, 883
7. Cruz Pedregon, 861
8. John Force, 842
9. Jeff Arend, 781
10. Bob Tasca III, 770
11. MATT HAGAN, 751
TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT - FUNNY CAR
Sunday (12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.)
First-round pairings: 1. RON CAPPS vs. No. 8 fan vote/lottery; 2. Robert Hight vs. No. 7 Jeff Arend; 3. JACK BECKMAN vs. No. 6 John Force; 4. JOHNNY GRAY vs. No. 5 Mike Neff
U.S. NATIONALS FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE (all times ET)
WEDNESDAY: NHRA Fanfest, public press conference and autograph session, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Monument Circle, Downtown Indianapolis
FRIDAY (Aug. 31): Big O Tires Don Schumacher Racing Open House for Riley Hospital, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Nitro qualifying, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY (Sept. 1): Nitro qualifying, 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
SUNDAY (Sept. 2): Nitro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
MONDAY (Sept. 3): Eliminations, 11 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET), delayed
Sunday: 5-7 p.m. (ET), delayed
Monday: 12-6 p.m. (ET)
THIS FRIDAY – DON SCHUMACHER RACING OPEN HOUSE
The seventh annual Big O Tires presents the Don Schumacher Racing Open House is Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature each of the seven DSR drivers, an indoor car and bike show, Cacklefest with the legendary “Jungle Jim” Funny car, “330-mph Art & Technology” exhibits and Silent Auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The annual Open House and other DSR functions have raised more than $175,000 for Riley Hospital.
The event is free to the public.
Silent auction items range from 50-inch HD, flat panel television provided by Aaron’s to the actual front end from Matt Hagan’s Aaron’s Funny Car that was featured worldwide on the Internet and television news programs after the car exploded earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway.
The technology aspect of the Open House will allow visitors for the first time to tour the DSR CNC Machine Shop that includes high-tech machinery used to manufacture more than 200 components used on DSR Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars.
The DSR 8,000-horsepower supercharger dynometer also will be operated at various times throughout the day.
DSR is located at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg about 4 miles west of Lucas Oil Raceway.
Beckman to visit Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts booth at Indy
Winning this weekend at the U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis isn’t the only thing on “Fast Jack” Beckman’s mind. Beckman, who is a cancer survivor and spokesperson for the Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts™ campaign, will be sharing his experiences at a special interactive video booth on the midway throughout the race weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts aims to address common misconceptions about cancer treatment. “It’s important for people with cancer to sit down with their doctor to get the facts about chemotherapy and know what to expect during their treatment,” Beckman said. “When I was diagnosed, there’s obviously a state of shock, but that’s the most important time to speak to your doctor and get good guidance and information.”
The campaign also features a video booth traveling around the country to events like the U.S. Nationals 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,” he said.
Visit www.chemomythsorfacts.com to learn more about the campaign and where the video booth will stop next.
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 190 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.