BECKMAN CLINCHES SPOT IN TOP EIGHT FOR COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman was on a tear this weekend in the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. After qualifying No....
BECKMAN CLINCHES SPOT IN TOP EIGHT FOR COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman was on a tear this weekend in the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. After qualifying No. 5, he defeated his teammate and class points leader Ron Capps in the opening round of eliminations, posting the third quickest E.T. of that round, then fell to Kenny Bernstein in the quarterfinals on a holeshot advantage after recording the second-quickest pass of that round.
With Tommy Johnson's loss in the quarterfinals to Beckman's other DSR teammate Gary Scelzi, Beckman clinched a spot in the top eight for the Countdown to the Championship, the next phase of which begins after one more event, to be held in Reading, Pa., at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.
Beckman led all the way in his match-up over Capps, scoring the win with a 4.819-second pass at 322.11 mph, while Capps followed .3630 of a second behind with a 5.187/220.22.
He lost his match-up against Bernstein by .0435 of a second, despite registering a quicker pass of 4.786/321.88 to Bernstein's 4.826/320.81. The difference was in the reaction times: a respectable .118 for Beckman, a stellar .035 for Bernstein.
"History will show it as a holeshot loss," explained Beckman. "I call it a holeshot loss. Bernstein is phenomenal. He does a little deal with the clutch when he stages, a little different than any other driver. I had an average light. I wanted to have lane choice (in the next round), so we were shallow staging, which will slow down your light, speed up your elapsed time, and it did all that. And I got beat on a holeshot."
On Saturday, Beckman hurt his right ankle, requiring a doctor's attention and some medication, but he's confident it did not affect his performance in the car. "If you think it has an effect it has an effect," he said. "You don't think about it. And it's not feeling that bad right now. I won't be doing any jumping jacks between now and Reading. I'll put ice on it occasionally. But, I don't think that was a factor, because my lights were about the same as normal shallow-staged qualifying lights."
How did it happen? "I was actually stepping out of the transporter and just felt a pop right on the top front of my foot. I have no idea what happened. So, the NHRA's medic came over and wrapped it tight. I will get X-rays next week just to make sure nothing's broken. But, you know what, win lights always make it feel better."
As for clinching a spot in the Countdown: "Five races ago, if you'd have asked if we would be content to clinch a spot in the Countdown, I'd have said, 'Drag racers are never satisfied,'" he said. "You want to win every round at every race you go to and it's always a disappointment to lose. But that's because we've got such a 'bad' hot rod right now. And I think the fact that crew chiefs Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler) are tuning both the MTS and Mopar/Oakley cars is going to actually not only be a bonus to Scelzi's car, but it will help our car, because I think we're getting more data per race now.
"And it might be a huge deal going into this eight-car Countdown to make the four. Re-setting our sights, we're going to go to to Reading and try to win the race."
Next up is the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 17-19.