Richmond: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN GOES TO SEVENTH FINAL ROUND OF SEASON IN VIRGINIA DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 12, 2008) - Jack Beckman just keeps on trucking in the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. He landed in his seventh final round of the 2008...

BECKMAN GOES TO SEVENTH FINAL ROUND OF SEASON IN VIRGINIA

DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 12, 2008) - Jack Beckman just keeps on trucking in the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. He landed in his seventh final round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season today at the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals. By doing so, he moved closer to the No. 1 spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs for the Funny Car championship.

On his consistent path to the final round at Virginia Motorsports Park to meet up with Cruz Pedregon, Beckman dismissed Del Worsham in the opening stanza with a career-best (to 1000 feet) 4.048-second elapsed time at 304.94 mph, then defeated the reigning Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon with another stout 4.063/303.57. He continued his charge by disposing of his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinal round, in a lop-sided pedaling match that saw Beckman take the victory with a 4.759/277.54.

His faceoff against Cruz Pedregon, who had eliminated points leader Tim Wilkerson in the semifinal, didn't deliver as advertised, as Beckman, without lane choice for the first time in eliminations, struck the tires early and posted a losing 7.503/88.14 to Pedregon's 4.113/296.44.

With this strong result, Beckman moves to 51 markers behind No. 1 Tim Wilkerson in Countdown points, with two events remaining in the season. Cruz Pedregon jumped to third, 18 points back of Beckman, with Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight 40 and 41 points, respectively, behind.

"With one exception, a great day," said Beckman, who is competing in only his second full season in the Funny Car class. "We were 20 points away from it being a perfect weekend.

"Interesting deal. This Countdown deal is just shaping up to be like a novel. We closed 21 points on Wilkerson, Cruz closed 20 and change on us. It's going to be unbelievable.

"I said it's going to come down to Pomona. I don't know if it's going to come down to the final round in Pomona, but it's amazing. At the rate we're going we'll lose by nine points, so we have to find a way to make up another half round on Wilky by the end of the season."

As for the final round, "We're not sure what happened," said Beckman. "I don't know if we were too aggressive, if it was something with the race track or if it was a malfunction in the car. But what was very unusual is it happened two rounds in a row. We got away with it in the semis and we knew Cruz had a great car. I think our and Cruz's car were the two best this weekend. We didn't have lane choice and we hadn't run the right lane all day and it might have bit us.

"My hat's off to Cruz and his team. That's their first win of the year, they've had a great car, and this Countdown is going to be exciting for the fans. I wish it wasn't quite this exciting for us, but we'll be in this deal in Pomona."

Next up is the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, the fifth round of six events in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight