You don’t have to have won Indy to be a fan of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, but it certainly helps. Just ask Jack Beckman.
The driver of the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger Hellcat Funny Car has a deep love for the history of our sport and has stood at its pinnacle as both Funny Car world champion (2012) and U.S. Nationals champion (2015). Yet he still remains in awe of “the Big Go.”
“This is still the biggest race of the year, and if you don’t believe me, take a look at the Sportsman pits,” he said. “I spent a couple of hours over there [Friday] and the amount of cars is staggering. There are more Super Stock cars here than there were at the last three national events combined.
“I spent an hour talking to ‘Ohio George’ Montgomery, the first multi-Nationals winner before the race even moved here. The fanboy in Jack is already saturated. My Indy weekend is complete. Now it’s time for ‘Racer Jack’ to take over.”
“Racer Jack” enters Saturday’s two qualifying sessions in the No. 1 spot after a dazzling 3.87 run under the Friday night lights, and a run that he thinks probably will hold up for No. 1.
“I want to be No. 1 for the next seven races because it’s all about the points right now," he said. "Don’t think we’re not counting them. Ron Capps is 37 points ahead of us and we just knocked four [bonus points] off of that total. If we can get it to 30 and win the race, we’ll take over the lead no matter who’s in the other lane. We’re looking to take over third so we’re racing for a 10-point improvement once they reset the points. Everything matters.”
A win also would be great for morale for the team.
“I’d trade my whole season for a win at Phoenix,” he said. “We’ve been to four final rounds and I think we have a car that legitimately can contend for the world championship. It’s one thing to say that but something else to have your crew standing in a winner’s circle to give what you say some credibility.”