Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Father's Day a special time, Bristol Dragway a special place for Beckman as Valvoline Dodge looks for one more round

Jack Beckman is a frugal man but buying a Father's Day gift is something he always can work into his budget.

But the perfect gift for his dad, Bob, would be a "Wally" trophy from winning this weekend's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.

It would be priceless.

Beckman came close to leaving Bristol with the trophy a year ago. After qualifying fourth, the Don Schumacher Racing driver advanced to the championship round where he lost to Robert Hight.

Winning this Sunday, however, would be extraordinary.

"My dad gets to come to about eight races a year and it will be special having him at Bristol on Father's Day," Beckman said of the visit. "It also will help me because I won't be able to be with my kids on Sunday."

Free gift aside, Beckman recalls growing up on the East Coast in a house where his dad proudly displayed a trophy he had won drag racing on a motorcycle.

"After we moved to the West Coast dad had two kids to raise and started a new career so he's been racing vicariously through me."

Despite being 75, Bob Beckman often rides his motorcycle to races from his home in Arlington, Texas. While he shares his son's spunk, he proudly calls himself "Slow Bob" in contrast to his son's moniker, "Fast Jack."

The Beckmans will enjoy Father's Day, but the younger Beckman's 14th NHRA Funny Car title of his career and second of the season would be a nice touch to add.

Jack always has looked forward to his annual visit to Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. He says calling it "Thunder Valley" could not be a better way to describe the picturesque setting with the grandstands carved into the sides of a valley that reverberates with the cacophony of horsepower.

"It's a unique experience at Bristol whether you're racing or being a spectator. No racetrack captures the sound like Bristol. When you whomp the throttle the sound of 8,000 horsepower echoes three times off the sides of the canyon walls.

"It's the ultimate place to see and hear our cars."

And Father's Day would be the ultimate day to win.

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