Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals
Imbedded reporter Strunk Beckman's 'lucky charm'?
The final event on the Swing is this weekend's Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in
"I don't know what it is like to lose on the track and I love it," proclaims Strunk in reference to helping MTS Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman win national titles in
Strunk showed up at the drag strip after convincing long-time friend and drag-racing legend Don Schumacher into allowing him a behind-the-scenes look at NHRA drag racing. In the mode of George Plimpton's "Paper Lion," he is writing an action-packed novel about drag racing entitled "Burning More Than Rubber," as well as the biography of Schumacher and his racing teams. In addition, he is writing a weekly column in National Dragster and a blog for NHRA.com.
"Right now we're not sure we are going to let Harry go home," said a jubilant Beckman after Sunday's win in
"Beating Kenny Bernstein in the semis and John Force in the finals, as Jack did in Seattle, is like beating Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in a golfing playoff," says Strunk, who resides in Key Largo, Fla. "I just don't think the average sports fan understands the depth of this accomplishment."
Strunk's deal with Schumacher was a trip on the Western Swing – races in
"It was hard for me to imagine the amount of hard work, dedication and complexity necessary for winning in Top Fuel and Funny Car racing today," said Strunk of his experience. Attending Schumacher's races once per year for the last decade gave him no idea of what was going on behind the scenes. "Better education and simpler explanations of what is happening at the track would help a lot in building larger fan support," he said.
One reason that Strunk is targeting drag racing for one of his first novels is his belief that the sport is poised for rapid growth in the wake of the exploding popularity of NASCAR. Also, historic developments are underway at NHRA with the purchase of NHRA Pro Racing by HD Partners, a public stock listed company. Observers are predicting that HD Partners will take the sport to the next level of sports entertainment.
As for Strunk's future in racing, he says he must get back to his family after the
"As long as Jack keeps winning, I'm not going anywhere," Strunk says.
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