Norwalk: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN WINS NORWALK ON HIS BIRTHDAY NORWALK, Ohio (June 28, 2009) - On his 43rd birthday today, Jack Beckman claimed his second Funny Car victory of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season and the eighth of his career in 15 final...

BECKMAN WINS NORWALK ON HIS BIRTHDAY

NORWALK, Ohio (June 28, 2009) - On his 43rd birthday today, Jack Beckman claimed his second Funny Car victory of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season and the eighth of his career in 15 final rounds at the NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The triumph moved him into No. 4 in the point standings and also marked Don Schumacher Racing's 130th national-event win since 1998.

En route to the money round driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car on a hot and tricky track surface, the California native first eliminated Bob Bode in the opening round with a 4.344-second elapsed time at 272.01 mph, then followed that with an easy victory over Jim Head in the second round when Head failed to reach the finish line.

The semifinal round saw him increase his round-win record against 14-time national champion John Force to 9-5 as he dismissed "The Champ" with a 4.322/271.41 to reach the final.

Beckman's stunning .001 (of-a-second) reaction time (.000 is perfect) in the final round nearly cost him the win, but it stuck and he went on to defeat Bob Tasca III with a 4.315/277.54.

"In the final I made a mistake and got away with it, pure and simple," said Beckman, who also credited Don Schumacher Racing team manager Lee Beard with helping the team analyze data. "We had a good race car, [but] we were vulnerable. I'm not sure if this was the hottest track we raced on all year but [it was] 132 degrees. And with the new asphalt it was slippery down there, so I don't think you were ever going to see anybody dominate.

"Our goal is to be a top-five car come Indy. And maybe more important than that our goal is to be consistently quick come Indy (the last event before the Countdown begins), because once they do reset the points, anybody in the top seven or eight has a fighting chance. If we can get the car's consistency back and then start pecking away at the ETs again, we're going to be in great shape for the summer months.

"When it's your day, it's your day. I think that you have to have some racing luck, but I think having a good car can kind of create your own luck."

Said crew chief Johnny West, "With the track being so tricky, that's where everybody was having a lot of problems, and Lee Beard has helped me think a lot of things through and he brought a lot of new ideas to my line of thinking and it's really helped us all out. Winning was just the result of that. We're doing the same job, we just finally got good results."

Next up is the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., outside of Denver, July 10-12.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , John Force , Jack Beckman , Bob Bode , Don Schumacher , Bob Tasca III