BECKMAN REACHES FOURTH FINAL ROUND OF SEASON IN TEXAS, MOVES INTO THIRD IN POINTS ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 27, 2009) - Jack Beckman reached his fourth final round of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today, and 16th of his career, at the...
BECKMAN REACHES FOURTH FINAL ROUND OF SEASON IN TEXAS, MOVES INTO THIRD IN POINTS
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 27, 2009) - Jack Beckman reached his fourth final round of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today, and 16th of his career, at the NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, bowing out to Robert Hight.
En route to the money round in the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car, No. 7 qualifier Beckman dismissed his teammate Matt Hagan in the first round with a 4.241-second pass at 292.77 mph, then disposed of 14-time world champion John Force in the second round with a 4.219/294.11.
It was important to earn lane choice for every run, as the right lane produced only one winner all day in the Funny Car class, and that was Jerry Toliver, whom Beckman was matched up against in the semifinals. Beckman had the luxury of choosing his lane in that round and eliminated Toliver with a 4.546/218.55 to reach the final against Robert Hight.
The only stanza for which Beckman failed to earn the coveted lane choice today was the final one. With a track steaming at 114 degrees, the duo took off. And, although Hight grabbed the victory with a 4.218-second run at 296.44 mph, Beckman was right there with him to the finish, crossing the stripe in 4.271 seconds at 292.58 mph. Margin of victory: .0821 of a second.
"I have to tell you, losing in the final round stinks," said Beckman, who moved into third in the Countdown to 1 playoffs standing, "but we recognize what we did here and everybody on this Valvoline/MTS Dodge crew has that look in their eye right now. We did what nobody could do all day, we got down that right lane. And our goal on that one - what Johnny (West, crew chief) wanted to do - was make them beat themselves.
"If I had stayed shallow (at the starting lights) we'd have run a 4.23 on that pass, which is a decent run in either lane and we did it in the less-favored lane. They just did a better job. And that's what lane choice got them that run.
"We moved way up in the points, we're back to that consistency that we had at the end of last year on hot race tracks, and we're going to have at least two more hot tracks coming up (in the last four events of the playoffs).
"This is going to get interesting. When they bunch the points up like this in the Countdown, what happens is that you'll see six or seven points changes ever single race within the top 10 now, and this one is no exception.
"By the time it gets down to Pomona (Calif., for the final race), you're going to know who the contenders are. There's probably going to be four cars in it; the other ones aren't going to be within striking distance. But it's so exciting from a fan point of view to see all these changes taking place.
"We're ready. We can take this car to Memphis and I think we can put it right back in the final round again.
Next up is the 22nd annual NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 2-4, 2009.