POMONA, Calif. - Jack Beckman has said for several years that his goals at the start of each season is to win three event titles and go into the last race of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season with a chance to win the world championship.
He's covered the three event titles this year in his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car led by crew chief Todd Smith and assistant Terry Snyder.
And heading to Sunday's final day of the season at Pomona, Calif., Beckman will start championship eliminations with not only a chance to win his first professional world championship but also as the points leader.
Beckman's best time was recorded on Friday and the 4.025 earned him the No. 3 seed.
The Valvoline Dodge fell short of reaching that time on its two runs Saturday but the team's intention was to dip below the 4-second barrier.
"We had it loaded for bear. We wanted to make the Valvoline NextGen car quicker at the step," Beckman said of its performance at the hit of the throttle. "We can back it down from that.
"But my hat's off to the NAPA team and (crew chief) Rahn Tobler. Their last run was stunning. Going from 16th to first is what happens when you have someone of his caliber but our (crew chief) Todd Smith and our Valvoline team are ready for tomorrow too."
If Beckman and Capps lose in the same round, the championship will go to Beckman. Capps can only win the championship by advancing one round farther than Beckman.
And if Beckman and Capps win their first three rounds Sunday, the championship would come down to the final run of the year.
Mike Neff of John Force Racing is a longshot to win the championship. If Beckman and Capps lose in the first round, Neff would need to win the event title and set an NHRA national elapsed time record in the process.
Don Schumacher Racing