Richmond: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN OUT OF COUNTDOWN AFTER RICHMOND QUARTERFINAL FINISH PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2007) - Jack Beckman came into the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park third in the Countdown to Four playoffs with high hopes of ...

BECKMAN OUT OF COUNTDOWN AFTER RICHMOND QUARTERFINAL FINISH

PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2007) - Jack Beckman came into the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park third in the Countdown to Four playoffs with high hopes of benefiting from the consistency the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car has demonstrated in the last half of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

But an intense challenge from his own teammates Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps, who were on the outside of the top four, did him in, dropping Beckman out of the Countdown and into fifth in the standings.

Beckman had a solid qualifying effort, posting a No. 5, while his teammates struggled. He then defeated Jeff Arend in the opening round of eliminations. While his teammates continued to advance, Beckman's day ended early when he was eliminated by Tony Bartone in the second round and his teammates reached the final. With Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight solidly in first and second, there was only room for two of the three DSR drivers vying for the final positions. They went to Scelzi in No. 2, and Capps in No. 4.

"We came in here; it was like a storybook," said Beckman, who was living his dream in his first full season of Funny Car competition. "We qualified well, Capps and Scelzi both got in (the 16-car field), which is exactly what we wanted. We really would have liked to have seen all three cars in (the Countdown), so you're not rooting against your teammates...unless they're in the other lane.

"And we all three got past first round. It looked good. We needed to beat Bartone second round. We had lane choice. Didn't get the job done. Now if the thing had gone out there, knocked the rods out of it or the blower belt had come off, that's a mechanical issue. The thing made a big move toward the wall and you need to wrestle it back in there and I didn't do it. So, it actually hit the rev limiter further down track and spun (the tires).

"I don't know that it decided the race, but it stings. So, we still had a chance, so we sat and watched. Well, God, now who do you bet against? The only time I ever bet against Capps or Scelzi is if they're in the other lane.

"It's devastating, because it's not just me. There's 10 guys whose livelihood is to make that car run as good as possible. They've been giving me a great car all year; we've had great momentum lately. And so there's 11 disappointed people on that crew, including myself, and it hurts them as much as it hurts me.

"You always want to control your own destiny. You always want it decided on the race track with you strapped in the car. To have to sit there for two rounds is agonizing. It's tough to put a good spin on this right now. We'll race for fifth now instead of first."

As for his thoughts on the new Countdown format, "Well, if you're a fan I don't know that NHRA could make it any more exciting," said Beckman. "I would like to see some tweaks next year and maybe now is not a good time to comment on them; I don't want it to seem like sour grapes. But as far as maintaining that excitement level until late, late in the year, which is NHRA's goal, it's perfect. And Wally (Parks) was behind this deal, God rest his soul. We should all live to be 94 and be as bright as that guy was. It's going to be exciting all the way down to Pomona."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Gary Scelzi , Jack Beckman , Jeff Arend , Robert Hight