BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2009) - Jack Beckman squeaked into the Funny Car field for the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in 16th place, posting a 4.351-second pass at 269.35 mph in Friday night's session.

Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge with the Valvoline Engine Guarantee program featured on the car this weekend, Beckman struggled in the other passes, which included a 4.764/179.28 (No. 7) earlier on Friday and 4.781/165.99 in the third and final session today, as rain cancelled the final run.

"Sixteenth certainly isn't where we wanted to be, but it sure beats 17th, 18th or 19th," said Beckman of the number of cars entered this weekend. "Who thought right now that Robert Hight wouldn't be in the show? That's devastating to a team fighting for that final spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs." Hight entered the event 12th in the standings. The top 10 in points will compete in the playoffs, following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend for the final six events of the year.

"The down side of being 16th is you race the No. 1 qualifier; the upside is, with nitro in the tank, these cars are less than predictable.

"We really were on a monster run the last pass, so I think, even though we smoked the tires, we learned something about the car that we can use for race day."

-credit: dsr