By Don Schumacher Racing
Jack Beckman Ousted In Quarterfinals Of Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Jack Beckman, at the controls of the Valvoline/Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, lost a tight second-round pedalfest to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps here today at the fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Beckman, who overcame the lack of lane choice in the opening round of eliminations at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park to advance to the quarterfinals, lost traction early in the contest, but could not quite catch his teammate when Capps spun his tires and lost speed with a violent swerve near the top end.
“We put on a heck of show,” said the Southern California native. “We almost caught Ron; we just needed a bit more race track. But, as is it so often happens in nitro racing, the first guy to lose traction is generally the one who loses the race.
“I must say, though, it was the ‘best’ second-round loss of my life!”
The margin of victory was .051 (factoring in reaction time) as Beckman posted a 4.607-second, 258.47-mile-per-hour pass compared to Capps’s 4.559 at 213.81. The run was in contrast to Beckman’s first round in final eliminations of 4.177 at 287.60 to defeat Bob Tasca III, who had lane choice on the basis of a better qualifying position.
Rain washed out Friday’s two qualifying rounds, leaving the Valvoline/Aaron’s car two shots to make the 16-car field for Sunday’s race. Beckman opened Saturday’s program with a 4.188 at 244.16 run, then bettered his time to 4.167 at 286.74, good enough for the 10th starting spot.
“It was just one of those weekends,” he explained. “You just have to go around and pat every one of the Valvoline/Aaron’s crew members on the back and say ‘good job’ for the work they did under tough conditions.
“We went from ending the first-qualifying round on fire, which damaged our one Valvoline body. We swapped bodies for the second round, made repairs on the original and swapped it back for today’s race. And then on top of these issues, we had to react to changing track and weather conditions during the two days of action.
“Having said that, we move on to the next race, trying to take something out of this one – some data – which can help us win a round or a race later in the season.”
The next race is the July 7-10 Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., where Beckman will start from second place in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings. He trails leader and race winner Mike Neff, while sitting in front of Robert Hight, Cruz Pedregon and DSR teammate Matt Hagan.
“Accumulating points now for round wins is nice, but at this point in the season, before we get to the Countdown (playoffs) it’s about getting wins,” explained Beckman. “It means something to win a race; it means something to be the best on Sunday.
“After Indy (the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis mark the end of the regular-season) we’ll take late-round finishes to accumulate points for the championship; now, it’s about collecting Wallys for Valvoline and Aaron’s, for the crew and for DSR.”