NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals
Beckman counting down to Top Fuel debut
Las Vegas, prerace: Like a wide-eyed youngster eagerly waiting for Christmas morning, Jack Beckman is counting the hours until he makes his Top Fuel debut at this weekend’s NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in
“Excited wouldn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now,” said Beckman. “I feel like the high school kid who’s been standing alone in the corner for hours and the prettiest girl just came over and asked me to dance. Racing a Top Fuel dragster is what I’ve wanted to do for the last 30 years, and it's incredible to think that it's actually about to become a reality.
"Anytime I go to the races, I never miss the first round of Top Fuel, even if it means running to the fence to get a good spot. This weekend is different. I plan on having one of the best seats in the house. If I’m strapped in that car when they play the national anthem on Sunday morning, it will be the realization of a lot of my hopes and dreams.”
The 2003 NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp champion, Beckman recently received his NHRA competition license in Top Fuel during a two-week test session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, one of the premier facilities on the NHRA tour. Having cranked out a number of four-second runs, including a best of 4.75 at nearly 300 mph, Beckman rightfully expects to qualify for Sunday’s final eliminations.
“The Menards/MTS Top Fuel car ran well in testing, and we’re confident that it can run a lot quicker,” he said. “[Crew chief] Jimmy Walsh had a pretty conservative tune-up on the car for most of my license runs. Now, we can push a little harder. I know how tough the competition in Top Fuel is, but I’ll be bitterly disappointed if we don’t qualify. I believe this team is capable of winning some rounds.”
Beckman, who makes his living as an instructor at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School, will be doing double duty in Las Vegas. Not only will he be making his Top Fuel debut, but the versatile driver will also be behind the wheel of Frank Dischbein’s Las Vegas-based Top Alcohol Dragster, honoring a commitment he made earlier this year.
“It’s going to be tough racing two cars, especially since they are completely different to drive, but I feel confident that I can pull it off,” Beckman said. “Obviously, the Top Fuel car will be my first priority. I’m hoping this weekend will be just the start of a nice long career.”
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