BECKMAN ROARS TO SEMIS IN POMONA FINALS POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2008) - Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, "Fast" Jack Beckman completed the 2008 NHRA POWErade Drag Racing Series in fine fashion today, ...
BECKMAN ROARS TO SEMIS IN POMONA FINALS
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2008) - Driving the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, "Fast" Jack Beckman completed the 2008 NHRA POWErade Drag Racing Series in fine fashion today, reaching the semifinal round at the NHRA Finals and ending the season No. 3 in the Funny Car point standings.
The first round of eliminations was pivotal for each of the top five drivers contending for the crown. And it was over in a flutter of an eyelash. After No. 1 in points Cruz Pedregon won over Jerry Toliver, and John Force eliminated No. 2 Tim Wilkerson, it was down to No. 4 Tony Pedregon to beat No. 3 Robert Hight - which he did. That was all it took for Cruz Pedregon to clinch the 2008 Funny Car championship.
No. 5 Beckman, waiting in the lanes to face his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Gary Scelzi in the opening stanza, saw in front of him his chances being dashed of winning his first Funny Car championship in only his second full season in the pro Funny Car category.
He proceeded to dispose of Scelzi with a 4.149-second elapsed time at 299.80 mph, then sent home Melanie Troxel in the second round with another solid 4.148/301.00 pass.
In the semifinal round he met up with his DSR teammate Ron Capps. It was a dynamite race, as Capps pulled out a .015 (of-a-second) reaction time to Beckman's more-than-respectable .051, and grabbed the victory at the finish stripe by 15 feet on a holeshot advantage. Beckman posted a quicker but losing 4.112/303.09 to Capps' slower but winning 4.116/301.27.
"We're going to have a '3' on the car next year, we ran low elapsed time of the semis, I had a great light, Capps had a telepathic light," said Beckman. "It was a great race. It's really tough for us to feel bad about anything we've done this weekend or this year.
"It's just been awesome. My hat is off to everybody on the Valvoline/MTS Dodge crew, especially crew chiefs Johnny West and Tommy DeLago. We were completely written off in the Countdown deal and now we have the No. 3 car this year. It's been fantastic for us, and we couldn't have done it without Valvoline, Mail Terminal Services, Don Schumacher and all the Don Schumacher Racing sponsors.
"This is exactly what we were supposed to do this year, is contend for the title and be a top-five car, and third ain't first, but it ain't that bad."