Epping is next on the schedule
You'd never know from the way Jack Beckman seems to always have a smile on his face and the upbeat way he interacts with his legion of fans at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events that the two-time NHRA world champion is mired in most disappointing stretch of his career.
The winner of 10 event titles and the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world championship for Don Schumacher Racing has not won an event title since three races were left in the 2012 season. That's 37 events since the last time he hoisted an NHRA Wally trophy.
His Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T team led by Rob Flynn has advanced to one championship round and one semifinals through 10 races this year, but Sunday at Bristol Dragway marked the fifth time the team has lost in the first round this season.
That dropped him to 11th in points and marks the first time he has been ranked outside the top-10 since the second race of the 2013 season and only the third time in the past four seasons.
"No excuses, we'll move on to Epping and get better," he said. "We have three more (races) in the next three weekends and six in the seven weeks, we just need to get some round wins.
"By the time we get done with that stretch it's going to separate who is going to be near the top of the standings and who is going to be fighting for one of the last 10 spots in the Countdown to the Championship.
"We will not be one of those teams at (the U.S. Nationals at) Indy on Labor Day fighting to get into the top-10 when the Countdown field is finalized."
Don Schumacher Racing