JACK BECKMAN REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN THE AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS
ENNIS, TEXAS, September 25, 2011 – A hot, tricky race track contributed to a loss of traction and a second-round exit for Jack Beckman in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car during today’s 26th-annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals here at the Texas Motorplex.
“We dropped a cylinder and then smoked the tires,” explained the 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver about his quarterfinal loss to Jon Capps.
Coming from the sixth-qualifying spot, Beckman opened with a first-round win against Tim Wilkerson on the strength of the quickest pass of the day, 4.148-seconds at 309.63 miles per hour.
The track temperature climbed to above 120 degrees as the second round began, challenging crew chiefs and leading to numerous passes shortened by tire-smoke, including Beckman’s 4.679 which trailed Capps’s winning 4.311.
The loss also allowed Cruz Pedregon, today’s winner, to move around the DSR flopper pilot in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship standings.
“This was a huge opportunity we let slip away,” lamented Beckman about a day in which he dropped from third to fourth in the title race. “We saw the leaders go out ahead of us and had this golden opportunity to improve our position.
“I’m still very optimistic about our chances, but things are getting tight.”
Going into next weekend’s 27th-annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway outside Reading, Pa., Beckman trails Pedregon by 25 points, DSR teammate Matt Hagan by 28 and leader Mike Neff by 32, which equates to less than two rounds out of first place. In addition, DSR teammate Ron Capps, who finished runner up today, moved to within two rounds of Beckman, effectively putting them all in title contention.
“One of the great things about resetting the points for the Countdown is you get closer to the drivers in front of you,” the California native said. “One of the bad things about resetting the points is the guys behind you get closer to you as well.
“With only four races left, now is the time to turn on four win lights and win a Wally, which, of course, is our goal for Reading.”