BECKMAN IS FIFTH IN NHRA SEASON-ENDING POINTS
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2009) - "Fast" Jack Beckman ended a challenging, roller-coaster of a 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season in fifth place in the point standings after losing the opening round to Tim Wilkerson at today's 45th annual NHRA Finals.
A battle for second place in the Funny Car championship began to brew following Robert Hight's clinching the crown on Saturday. Beckman, driving the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/Mail Terminal Services Dodge, was one of a slew of drivers aiming to stand next to Hight at the awards banquet on Monday night.
Without lane choice as the No. 11 qualifier, Beckman took off at the starting lights with a slight edge over Wilkerson, but it was Wilkerson first at the finish line with a 4.126-second lap at 300.86 mph to Beckman's very close and stout 4.145/306.46. Margin of victory: five feet!
"It's disappointing," said Beckman, of nearby Norco, Calif. "Even without lane choice our run would have won six or seven of those first-round match-ups. Unfortunately, no one told Tim Wilkerson that .
"It was another good year; we were in five final rounds and had two wins. And I think what's going to make the difference for next year is looking at where our weaknesses are, and figuring out how we can improve those and just managing each run.
"Usually in the off-season you come up with some theories, you go test them, and then when it comes to the Winternationals (season-opener), you go to the combo that you think gives you the best possible chance. We're just going to have to be intelligent every round of every qualifying session next year because now they're going to have these bonus points which can completely change the standings just in qualifying.
"it's really going to throw most of the teams a big curve next year because you'll have an opportunity for 12 points that never existed before the Countdown this year.
"I was asked before the season began what our goals were and I said that we'd like to win a few races and come into Pomona with a shot at the championship, and we fell a few points shy of that. We won two, we runnered-up in three, and we came in with a shot at second.
"It's disappointing not to finish second, but how can you be upset with a car that's run as good as ours? The team chemistry is as strong as ever. We're just going to dust ourselves off and come back and start with a win here next year."