BECKMAN GOES TO SEMIS, CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16, 2009) - With his quarterfinal victory over Del Worsham today at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, "Fast" Jack Beckman...
BECKMAN GOES TO SEMIS, CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16, 2009) - With his quarterfinal victory over Del Worsham today at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, "Fast" Jack Beckman clinched a berth in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which begin for the top 10 in points following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.
His strong performance today belied his 16th-place qualifying position. En route to the semifinals, driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car with the Valvoline Engine Guarantee program featured on it, Beckman defeated No. 1 qualifier Mike Neff in the opening round with a 4.195-second elapsed time at 291.13 mph. His win over Worsham produced a 4.175/294.56 pass.
He then faced class points leader (and eventual event winner) Tony Pedregon in the semifinal round, posting another straight and solid 4.166/296.50 pass, but Pedregon was first across the finish line with a 4.181/297.02.
Beckman moved up one spot in the standings and is now in fourth place.
"We're back in fourth place, which is awesome," he said. "We're thinking it's going to be pretty tough to get up into third the way Tony Pedregon (No. 1), Ron Capps (No. 2), and Ashley Force Hood (No. 3) have been running.
"And we're not safe in fourth by any stretch. Tim Wilkerson is still right on our heels and so are a slew of other good cars. But, we're solid top five. We went a couple of rounds, we're starting to get a handle on this tune-up and I think it's gong to translate to another win pretty quick here.” Beckman has won twice this season.
"I think we're posturing ourselves to be in the position we want to be in when the Countdown starts. I think it's all positive.
"Being 16th here was more a product of losing the last qualifying run (which was rained out on Saturday). I think we had a pretty good car but didn't get a chance to show it in the last session. But it's always tough going against the No. 1 qualifier the first round. But we knew we had as good a chance as anybody. The lanes seemed equal and we put what we thought would be a fast but predictable make-it-down-the-track tune-up and it paid off for us.
"Then we sped it up a little second round and a little more for the semis and it did what we asked it to do. So we all feel pretty good about going into Reading now."
Next up is the 25th annual NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 14-16.