EARLY EXIT FOR JACK BECKMAN FROM AUTO-PLUS NHRA® NATIONALS
MOHNTON, Pa., October 2, 2011 – Aboard his Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Jack Beckman lost a first-round race in Sunday’s 27th annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals when he spun his tires on the cold track here at Maple Grove Raceway.
Starting from the fifth position on the strength of a .4.039-second qualifying lap at 317.94 miles per hour, Beckman lost traction almost immediately in his opening-session match with 12th-qualifier Bob Tasca III.
“We were in trouble three feet into the run, which is very unlike us,” explained the 45-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver. “We didn’t think we were overly aggressive, based on our qualifying runs – but this was by far the coldest track (track temperatures in the low 60s) we faced all year. We almost never run when it is this cold (air temperatures also in the 60s); it just doesn’t happen.
“We went to the starting line with every reason to believe we would have a good Sunday; then something happened. We haven’t found a ‘smoking gun,’ something to pinpoint for what went wrong. We’re still looking and frustrated.”
Persistent rain and cold Sunday brought about postponement of the race following the second Funny Car round; resumption of the event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday.
Regardless of the eventual winner and even though he might drop one spot, Beckman will remain 55 points – less than three race rounds – behind DSR teammate Matt Hagan who leads in the Countdown to the Championship standings.
“We have already lost ground to the guys in front of us,” the native Californian said about Hagan, Mike Neff and Cruz Pedregon, who all reached the second round today (should Robert Hight win the race, he will slide by Beckman into fourth place). “We have a lot of rounds to make up and limited opportunities (12 race rounds or three races remain in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season).
“Phoenix, the next race in the Countdown just under two weeks away, Las Vegas and Pomona means we’ll wrap up the season in my backyard. We’ll take a look at everything from a fresh perspective, take a deep breath and look to win races.”