Denver: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN WINS DENVER MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2007) - In his first visit to Bandimere Speedway, "Fast" Jack Beckman collected his first Funny Car win of the season today at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, and the second of his career (Las ...

BECKMAN WINS DENVER

MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2007) - In his first visit to Bandimere Speedway, "Fast" Jack Beckman collected his first Funny Car win of the season today at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, and the second of his career (Las Vegas 2 '06) in an all-Don Schumacher Racing, all-Mopar final round.

Beckman defeated his teammate and NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points leader Ron Capps, taking the win with a solid 4.932-second pass at 312.86 mph to Capps' 5.001/307.86. The pair launched with nearly identical reaction times (.065 for Capps, .066 for Beckman), with the driver of the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, in his first full season of Funny Car competition, crossing the finish line 31 feet in front of Capps. It was the pair's first final-round match-up since Beckman joined DSR after the U.S. Nationals in 2006.

With lane choice for each round, Beckman dismissed Tommy Johnson Jr. using a 5.060/292.14 pass, then Jeff Arend with a 5.121/294.95 and 14-time champion John Force (for the second time this season) when Force fouled-out in the semifinals.

Beckman moved into seventh in the Funny Car points rankings, 90 markers ahead of Cruz Pedregon in eighth.

"I think our car and our team would have won three races by now," said an elated Beckman. "I replaced Whit Bazemore (last year for the last five events). Tomorrow he can get back in and be one of the top three Funny Car drivers. And I'm on a steep learning curve. I've definitely been the weakest link on the team. So, to get that first win of the season, especially with the momentum that we've had over the last four or five races, I don't know that it would have come at a better time.

"We were lingering down there around 10th or 11th (in points) and with this [Countdown] format, I think it's three separate seasons: until Indy, four races after Indy, the last two. So, you do look at it slightly different, but the purpose is still the same. We want to win every race we come to.

"I am so spoiled that I drive a car that could win every race we go to. When I won Las Vegas last year I knew I was going to win that race. I felt confident all weekend. [We] struggled a little bit this year.

"It was a real hot race track, the tune-up up here is completely different, the car sounds and feels different. I wouldn't say I felt really comfortable this weekend, but Todd (Okuhara, crew chief), Phil (Shuler, assistant crew chief) and the seven other MTS Dodge guys always gave me a consistent car.

"All those guys deserve wins. They get bonuses. The better I perform, the better their paycheck is. Hopefully this time they will treat me to dinner. I've been doing that the last four months.

"I think it's cool to have the chemistry that we've got between the three [DSR Funny Car drivers: Beckman, Capps and Gary Scelzi]. Ron was so gracious down there. And, no matter the fact that they're leading the points and just stretched their points lead, losing sucks and losing in the final is really tough to do. But he was so gracious when he came over. It actually looked like he was happy for us."

Said team owner Don Schumacher: "I think they did a great job this weekend. Jack hiccupped a little bit on the last qualifying session. Otherwise, they would have qualified No. 1. All day long he did a great job driving the race car, leaving on people, leaving right with them, and driving the car right down the race track.

"I take my hat off to Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and that whole team, because they're really the heart of that whole deal and they did a great, great job."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Jeff Arend , Don Schumacher , Tommy Johnson Jr.