BECKMAN BUMPS OUT FORCE, QUALIFIES 16TH IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS (April 14, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman had the good fortune to get into the 16 car Funny Car field in the final qualifying session for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, but his solid...
BECKMAN BUMPS OUT FORCE, QUALIFIES 16TH IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (April 14, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman had the good fortune to get into the 16 car Funny Car field in the final qualifying session for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, but his solid effort knocked out the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car icon and 14-time champion John Force, marking Force's first DNQ (did not qualify) since 1987 and breaking his 395-event qualifying streak.
Beckman, driving the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, posted his quickest run of the weekend in that pass, a 4.837-second lap at 321.73 mph, landing him in the No. 16 position. His other tries included a 5.412/194.07, a 4.856/320.58 and a 4.914/313.58.
"This is an odd race because it is the race where (Top Fuel's) Doug Kalitta and Force's streaks both came to an end, and both were the longest-running ones in drag racing," said Beckman. "But, because it was cooling so fast out there (in the final session) and because there were so many fast Funny Cars on the outside, I told the guys up there, You watch this session, it's going to be crazy up there.
"And we were 12th going in and I said, Normally I think that's safe. There's a good shot we'll be on the outside by the time we get up there. And we were sitting I think 17th when we got up there, and Force had run. And even strapped in the car you can hear the announcer, and you're playing the ladder in your head. Force got in and bumped us out, and then Force comes down to the starting line on his scooter, walks past me and kind of gives me a nod.
"I love that guy to death. He didn't come down to the starting line to play with us. He came down there because he was concerned about his qualifying position.
"On the run, it was moving good, then it got out of the groove and I went, Oh, no, and then I got it back in the groove and I said Oh, yeah, and then it moved over again. There was a lot of drama in 4.8 seconds.
"And then when you make the turn on the corner, that's when the guys came on the radio and said, 'good job.' Because you can't feel a 4.83 to a 4.86. I was pretty sure it was good enough, but not positive.
"And coming back up the return road, there were lots of cheers. I race out here a lot at this track. I've been a Sportsman racer for 20 years, so I have a lot of the racers behind me. There were a couple of boos. At one of the guys who booed me I looked back and kind of held my hands up, and then he gave me a thumbs up.
"The people love John. He's an icon in drag racing. He's maybe the greatest that's ever been. And it's like watching Babe Ruth strike out. Nobody wants to see that. He's a big part of the show . But, by God, we came to race our Mail Terminal Services Dodge and we came to qualify."
Beckman faces No. 1 qualifier Mike Ashley in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.