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May 18, 2014 - 07:52 AM
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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Southern Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 10
Posted by: newsla on May 18, 2014 - 07:51 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Southern Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 10


Jack Beckman knows Sunday is the start of several opportunities for his Valvoline MaxLife team to take one step further than it did two weeks ago at the last NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event when he advanced to its first championship round of the season.

 

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But it hasn't been the weekend he hoped for when an explosion before the finish line that blew the top of the Dodge Charger R/T carbon-fiber body skyward on his last run Saturday, but it was his best of four tries heading to Sunday's championship eliminations scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (EST).

"It's scary, can I say that? This is what we get paid to do and I drive race cars and I love race cars," moments after getting out of the Dodge. "You go swimming with sharks and bad things can happen once in a while, and the Great White just bit us.

"The fire in your face is something that you would have to be there to understand. It starts getting warm quick and what you're thinking is, 'I hope this goes out early and I hope I'm still going straight down your lane.' "

Jack qualified 10th and will face Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the opening round.

This weekend's race at Atlanta Dragway is the first of three races in three weeks and first of 10 over a 12-week stretch. The veteran driver with 15 NHRA titles but none in the past 33 events dating to September 2012 understands the importance of the next three months.

He believes his Valvoline team led by crew chief Rob Flynn got a jump on the difficult stretch by advancing to its first championship round of the season two weeks ago near Houston.

"We knew if we could do that on a more consistent basis that we'd start going deeper in eliminations, and Houston proved that. Getting to the final round was a reward for how hard our Valvoline crew has been working."

Atlanta will be a good place for the Valvoline MaxLife team to return to a winner's circle. Jack won Funny Car titles there in 2009 and 2011.

FUNNY CAR
No. 1 Qualifier: Alexis DeJoria (Kalitta Motorsports) 4.012 sec. (track record), 313.95 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 10
FIRST ROUND OPPONENT
BECKMAN vs. Ron Capps
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 8.242 sec., 73.02 mph, (Session 1); 6.862, 8.35 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.168, 271.35 (Session 3); 4.150, 251.77 (Session 4)

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