Memphis: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN MOVES INTO SECOND IN COUNTDOWN POINTS IN MEMPHIS MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2008) - In the ongoing see-saw points battle of the Countdown to 1 playoffs, top Funny Car contender Jack Beckman moved from third into second place following his...

BECKMAN MOVES INTO SECOND IN COUNTDOWN POINTS IN MEMPHIS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2008) - In the ongoing see-saw points battle of the Countdown to 1 playoffs, top Funny Car contender Jack Beckman moved from third into second place following his quarterfinal finish at the 21st annual NHRA Mid-South Nationals today.

Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, Beckman looked like he was on another charge to the final round after defeating Tony Pedregon in the opening stanza of eliminations by a margin of just five feet (4.173/292.39 to 4.186/292.92), which propelled him past Pedregon in the standings into No. 2. Pedregon ended the day in fourth place.

In the quarterfinal round, however, the car that has consistently powered down the track since the class has been racing to 1000 feet, uncharacteristically smoked the tires early against Mike Neff, and Beckman found himself on the sidelines, as Neff advanced to the semifinals.

"We're not sure what happened," said Beckman, the No. 5 qualifier. "Since Johnny (West, crew chief) has been on board our car has never done that. That is the earliest it smoked the tires and it was a big shock to us. We're not sure if it was a malfunction or if the car just didn't respond to our changes or if we were on a bald spot on the race track.

"I think what happened is any time you put nitro in the fuel tank, once in a while those things happen," he smiled.

"It stings. We had a golden opportunity there. The other side of it is we did ourselves a lot of good taking Tony out first round, so we're leaving here second in points.

"Again, my hat is off to NHRA for making this Countdown exciting, but they're killing us," he added, with a laugh. "We were hoping it wasn't going to be quite this exciting here. This championship is going to come down to the final race in Pomona.

"Last year with the two-race shootout it was almost over in one of the races, and this year we're going to have a six-race shootout and I think we're going to have five or six cars still in it at the last race. That's going to be incredible.

"Today was our little stumble. And it's a good thing it didn't happen a round earlier. We made five good runs before that second round. We'll just pick up and head to Richmond.

"The good thing is we turned the corner on the cool weather tune-up. So, I don't think it matters if it's hot or cold. I think we've got a top-five car either way."

Next up is the Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va., Oct. 10-12.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Mike Neff