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Tue, 20 Feb 2007, 11:00 PM

Beckman to Debut Valvoline-bodied MTS Dodge at Firebird
Courtesy of Judy Stropus
Photo copyright 2007 Ron Lewis





NORTH HILLS, Calif. --

The Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car that Jack Beckman races for Don Schumacher Racing in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will sport a red-white-and-blue Valvoline paint scheme at this weekend's CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

Beckman, who established national elapsed-time and speed records at the season finale in Pomona, Calif., in 2006, in only his fifth Funny Car event, will debut the Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in the first of four venues at which a Valvoline-themed DSR car will compete this season. DSR will also run a special Valvoline-themed car at Bristol (Tenn.), Dallas and Richmond (Va.).

"I love the looks of the Valvoline/MTS Dodge," said Beckman, of North Hills, Calif. "It's really cool. The crew guys call it the Captain America car, because it definitely has a patriotic theme. Our primary sponsor MTS (Mail Terminal Services) is very large on the side of the car, and it looks great."

"We're proud Jack Beckman and Don Schumacher Racing will be running the Valvoline red, white and blue at Phoenix," said Valvoline Vice President Global Brands Rob Stravitz. "Fans who see the event at the track and on TV know that Valvoline offers consumers the same kind of premium performance racers have relied on for more than 100 years."

Beckman will also continue to get valuable seat time in his seventh career Funny Car event this weekend, at a track at which he's competed in Sportsman events since 1992, but never in a Top Fuel or Funny Car. A January test session here, however, helped his learning curve in his first full season in the Funny Car class.

"We've had a lot of interesting stuff happen since the season started," said Beckman, who qualified No. 6 in Pomona, then was eliminated in the first round. "We lost an axle in testing and we caught on fire in Pomona, and we had lot of different stuff happen. So we feel like in Pomona we just didn't show what we are capable of.

"You don't want to blame it on anything. We just didn't do the best job of managing lane choice after the rain. I really think this team is a top-four team right now and it just didn't show in Pomona.

"The good news is that it's just one race. We have 15 more to get totally into the top of the program, towards working on getting into the Countdown to the Championship.

"I don't want to say vindication, but I think it's a good opportunity for us to go out there and get back the momentum that we had at the end of last year.

"We haven't lost anything. And while it might seem like we showed everybody that we were mortal in Pomona, I think that was just a quirk.

"It will still be my first time running a fuel car in Phoenix, but I have raced a lot in Sportsman classes there. There's not that awe of going to a new facility going into Phoenix. There's still a pretty high comfort level of being there."





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