Beckman qualify 8th during final qualifying session at NHRA season opener at Pomona

Rob Flynn-tuned machine cruised to a 4.049-second pass at 312 mph

It was a roller coaster ride for Jack Beckman and the Valvoline MaxLife Funny Car team this weekend at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season opener at Pomona, Calif.

Beckman had a front row seat to watch his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps explode his Dodge Charger R/T body into pieces on Friday night at Auto Club Raceway. Debris was unavoidable for Beckman and his Valvoline body was damaged.

The team entered Saturday's two qualifying sessions not in the field and was unable to make a full pass in the third session leaving them outside the 16-car field for the fourth and final qualifying pass on Saturday.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman

Photo by: Todd Steitle

"It's funny when you roll into a drag race with a DSR car, there isn't any reason to think you can't qualify on the pole and go win the race," Beckman said. "When you have three runs where you struggle and you say, 'Oh Lord, we just want to get in the show.' In the back of your mind you're thinking just don't have something stupid happen like a fuel leak, a fire bottle prematurely go off. Just about anything could have messed with one of these cars and cost us that run."

But none of those things happened on their final qualifying pass and the Rob Flynn-tuned machine cruised to a 4.049-second pass at 312 mph that earned the No. 8 slot.

"It was wonderful. It's a new team working here at DSR and we had Todd Okuhara, we had Dickie Venables, Terry (Snyder) and Rob (Flynn) all putting their heads together before that last run.

"We put in it what we figured it needed. Q2 we were on a good run and something malfunctioned and shut the car off so at least we had a little bit of data in similar conditions. Now we really have to study this because now we are back in a position where we think we can win the race."

Beckman went winless during the 2013 season but finished the year third in points and is ready to get his hands back on a Wally trophy in 2014.

"It's been a long time since we've held a trophy on a Sunday. I want to do it."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher
Article type Qualifying report
Tags don schumacher racing, jack beckman, pomona, ron capps