Charlotte: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN WINS CONCORD! CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Jack Beckman continued his hot streak of reaching Funny Car final rounds by winning his third NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event of the season at the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas ...


CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Jack Beckman continued his hot streak of reaching Funny Car final rounds by winning his third NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event of the season at the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals on the all-new zMax Dragway @ Concord in his sixth final round of the year.

Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T to his fourth consecutive final round of 2008, Beckman also collected his sixth career victory and jumped from sixth in the Countdown to 1 point standings to No. 2 in this opening event of the six-race playoffs.

He defeated Cruz Pedregon in the final round by a mere one-thousandth of a second. Pedregon had the edge at the starting lights, but Beckman ran him down to take the victory with a 4.130-second elapsed time at 302.82 mph.

After qualifying No. 11 for the 16-car field, Beckman was a master of consistency by first dismissing Jim Head in the opening round with a 4.110/304.67, then sending home Del Worsham in the quarterfinal with a 4.155/298.87.

The semifinals saw Beckman blister the starting lights with a stunning .002 reaction time (.000 is perfect) against Robert Hight, winning that match-up on a holeshot advantage with a slower 4.150/301.81.

"I red-lit and I got away with it," he said of his triumph over Hight, while crediting his Valvoline/MTS team for their hard work. "The guys back there in the Valvoline shirts, give them a round of applause," he asked of the crowd in the winner's circle.

"It's been interesting," said Beckman, referring to the Countdown for the top 10 in points. "Tim Wilkerson has been the dude all year long (led the points most of the year and today dropped to fifth after the points were reset for the Countdown). We did some interviews for the Countdown and (announcer) Bob Frey asked me who are the people that you're looking at the closest for being tough down the stretch, and [I said] it's all nine of the other cars. This year it's kind of been momentum swinging back and forth. Look at Cruz. Cruz has yet to win a race this year and he's been 'bad' at every single race.

"(DSR teammate Ron) Capps is going to win one before the year is out. And the non-Countdown cars - (Bob) Tasca, (Gary) Scelzi and (Jerry) Toliver - are probably going to be in a final round or two before the year's out. So, everybody is tough. The pairings are pretty odd the way we got Countdown match-ups today and then some that weren't. It just worked out perfect for this Valvoline team.

"We started the off-season with a team that had never worked together as an entire team, an empty race car trailer and no chassis. It seems like everybody who crews for me has to work extra hard, so, guys, (directed to his crew), this is the thank-you for all the hard work that you have done. And I can't emphasize enough today that the crew won the drag race. I was just so lucky to be in that Valvoline/MTS car.

"(Robert) Hight had a great car in eliminations, and Ashley Force made some great runs. To be fair, probably the two best cars on average throughout he weekend were in the final. Cruz had a really tough hot rod out there."

Said Don Schumacher: "Jack does a phenomenal job. He does think it too much, but you look at the reaction times he has out there on a day-to-day basis, race after race. Jack's won these races, the team has won the races. (Crew chief) Johnny West has won the races and all of DSR has done the job. Jack needs to take some credit, because he's done one hell of a job. I believe he's one of the best, and one of the top five Funny Car drivers out here, without a doubt."

"This win is a combination of all four Don Schumacher Racing Funny Cars," said a humble West. "Don Schumacher got us all together in Denver and this is just a product of all four cars working together. I'm just following Ace's (NAPA AUTO PARTS crew chief Ed McCulloch) lead."

Added assistant crew chief Tommy DeLago: "My emotions couldn't be any higher right now, it's unbelievable. It's like I'm still dreaming and I haven't woken up yet. We've been saying all along since we started doing well in Denver that it's kind of been our time. Ed McCulloch helped us out and kind of gave us his combination and we've kind of tried to tickle it from there. There have been some races, especially this weekend, we could have lost and we've won them by just enough. It's just been our time and we're riding a wave and we'll see how long it lasts."

Next up is the second of the remaining five events of the Countdown to 1 playoffs, the 23rd annual NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, Sept. 18-21.

-credit: dsr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Del Worsham , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight