Beckman anxious to get to Bristol Noise is a staple of drag racing regardless of the venue, but for Jack Beckman, driver of the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, the reverberation of the nitro machines here this weekend at Bristol Dragway is unique.
“When a nitro car, either a Funny Car or Top Fuel dragster, starts up in the pits here at Bristol Dragway, you hear the sound in the valley four times,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “No other place on the circuit has the acoustics of Thunder Valley, which just adds another dimension to the spectacle that is NHRA Full Throttle drag racing.
“For the Aaron’s/Valvoline Funny Car team we want to do a startup four times during Sunday’s eliminations (for the 11th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals) which means we’ve made it back to a final round. The last race (in Englishtown, N.J.) was the first early departure (pre-semifinals as he lost in the quarterfinals) for us in a while and we want to show everyone that was just a fluke.”
Beckman had won two of the previous four races, propelling the Aaron’s/Valvoline team into second place of the Funny Car standings behind Mike Neff. He comes to Bristol still in second, but wanting more.
“Every time we race, we race for a trophy, not for won-lost records,” said the lifetime Southern Californian. “Drag racers give everything every round to get that trophy, which is, of course, great for the fans.”
According to Beckman the fans are the consistent aspect of this race, not the conditions.
“Bristol has tremendous history in our sport,” he explained. “In the 60s when there were four national events on the NHRA schedule Bristol was one of the races. This track, this race is a great draw, has great fans.
“I love coming to the heart of NASCAR country and giving their fans a taste of NHRA drag racing. I think they love the racing and I think they love the accessibility of the drivers, the crews, the pits and all the action.
“And racing here, you never know what kind of weather conditions you’ll get, so you never know what’s going to happen on the track. I do know, thanks to Rahn Tobler’s (crew chief) leadership, we have the ability to adjust to whatever conditions we encounter, overcast and cool or hot and slippery.”