BECKMAN LANDS IN HIS SECOND SEMIFINAL OF YEAR IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16, 2010) - No. 6 qualifier Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger Funny Car, advanced to his second semifinal round of the 2010 NHRA...
BECKMAN LANDS IN HIS SECOND SEMIFINAL OF YEAR IN ATLANTA
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16, 2010) - No. 6 qualifier Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger Funny Car, advanced to his second semifinal round of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the 30th annual NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
First, he defeated his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan in the opening round, with a 4.219-second pass at 299.46 mph to Hagan's 5.082/144.30. He stepped it up to dismiss his other DSR teammate Ron Capps in the quarterfinal with a 4.202/298.67 in an oddball starting-light scenario (see below), then met his demise against eventual event winner Robert Hight in the semifinal stanza.
Both were close in reaction times, but Hight had the edge, which he kept to the finish, defeating Beckman with a 4.197/297.55 to Beckman's losing 4.249/294.95.
"This is the second race in a row where we ran well and Hight's car ran better," said Beckman, who was runner-up to Hight at the last event in St. Louis. "And the way that we will overcome that is by continuing to run well. We're not going to try to take home-run swings when we're not comfortable with it.
"A couple of races ago we made some big changes in the tune-up and we're still picking away at that, and we're still trying to be smart about our decisions. It is far better to get slightly outrun than to go out there and smoke the tires trying to get too aggressive, because, even if we get outrun, we learn something from the run. If you smoke the tires you have no idea how much to back it down for the next track and the next race.
"At least now (crew chief) Rahn Tobler and the rest of the Valvoline/MTS team feel like we're talking to the car and it's responding the right way to us.
"We've got one more race on this chassis in Topeka. This was the very first in-house DSR chassis built, and it's been really good to us. We'd love to retire it a winner, and we're going to replace it with a virtually identical car in Chicago.
"The last two races we've had a semifinal and a final round and there's no reason to think we can't go close the deal in Topeka."
As for the .199 reaction time against Capps in the second round, "Both Ron and I got caught by a long tree," he said. "Neither of us is going to make excuses for it. NHRA extended the random delay-to-tree activation a couple of years ago and, for whatever reason, we both caught ourselves easing off the brake and starting to go down on the throttle. And, like Ron said, he red-lit and the tree just saved him. I stopped the car when the tree came on and it made me late.
"I'm over it; I was over it the very next round. The lesson there is you react. It's not called a thinking time, it's called a reaction time. And the crew won that round for me. I hope in Topeka I can pay them back four times."
Next up is the 22nd annual NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, Kan., May 21-23.