BECKMAN'S BIG SCORE

beckman_head.jpgIt took only four times for Torco's CompetitionPlus.com columnist Jack Beckman to figure out how to win in a nitro-burner.

"Since Don Schumacher hired me, it's been a steep, steep learning curve," said Beckman in the winner's circle, "but I had a lot of help. Frank's (Hawley) been working with me some, (Ron) Capps, (Gary) Scelzi, Mike Ashley. We sit down and talk. I had a lot of help from my teammates at DSR. And it really is a team. It's a business enterprise, but there really is a sense that we're pulling for each other. When Richie won I couldn't jump up and down (because) I was strapped in the Funny Car, and when Tony won, we were all happy for him. To get to share the podium with two teammates up here it's just an amazing culmination to the day.

"And, God, I'm looking over there at the Matco Tools Funny Car and that's the baddest group of crew members over there. Those nine guys, they're the ones that made that car run.


beckman_head.jpgIt took only four times for Torco's CompetitionPlus.com columnist Jack Beckman to figure out how to win in a nitro-burner.

"Since Don Schumacher hired me, it's been a steep, steep learning curve," said Beckman in the winner's circle, "but I had a lot of help. Frank's (Hawley) been working with me some, (Ron) Capps, (Gary) Scelzi, Mike Ashley. We sit down and talk. I had a lot of help from my teammates at DSR. And it really is a team. It's a business enterprise, but there really is a sense that we're pulling for each other. When Richie won I couldn't jump up and down (because) I was strapped in the Funny Car, and when Tony won, we were all happy for him. To get to share the podium with two teammates up here it's just an amazing culmination to the day.

"And, God, I'm looking over there at the Matco Tools Funny Car and that's the baddest group of crew members over there. Those nine guys, they're the ones that made that car run.

"One of the things about drag racing is it will eat you alive if you let thelows be too low," Beckman continued in the press room. "So, you kind of have to temper things a little bit, things like weather, track conditions, scheduling, anything that burns nitro. Sometimes it doesn't go the way youwould like it to go. So, if the lows aren't quite as low, it means you kind of clipped off a little bit of the highs. I think I just bypassed that when I got out of the car down there.

"I've always kind of thought to myself, You want to be a dignified loser,you want to be a dignified winner. It kind of went out the door when the roof hatch opened down there at the other end. To do something like this has been a dream of mine for 33 years, since I was 7 and I first got taken to adrag strip. And it's something that you want very much.

"To come here to a track that I love to race at - I've had a lot of successes here (in Sportsman racing) - and to be able to do it in Vegas infront of a lot of my friends in an area close to my home, this is probablyas high as it gets."

Beckman was clearly grateful to his Matco Tools crew: "There are nine gentlemen over there that are more responsible for this win than me. In my opinion, a driver's job in a nitro car, especially in a Funny Car, is to letthe crew chiefs' number crop on the scoreboard. In other words, you gotta leave on time, and you gotta keep the car in the groove so the tires stay hooked up. And if the crew chiefs put a good tune-up in it, that big number will crop up there.

"I think drag racing successes over the years are more based on chemistry than intelligence, and we've got both over there (at DSR). Phil Shuler(assistant crew chief) and Todd Okuhara (crew chief) - one's from South Carolina, one's from Hawaii - are like brothers. There's no egos on that team. They key ideas off of each other. They're just geniuses with this stuff.

"We had a broken fuel line on the warm-up before the final. Shut the car off, nobody had to panic. We put another one on it, re-fired the race car and went out there. The guys just have such good chemistry over there. For them to be as accommodating to me as they are is more than I could ask for coming into the team. I never got any of that razzing when I made mistakes, let the car out of the groove, which maybe cost us some qualifying positions. They were more than supportive. I hope today we gave them back a little bit of that and a big thank you with that trophy.

"And this is for the 1500 Matco Tools distributors out there who havesupported this team for so many years."

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