Richmond: Jack Beckman final report

BECKMAN BUMPED OUT IN RICHMOND FIRST ROUND DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 11, 2009) - Jack Beckman, who scored his first No. 1 qualifier of the year and the second of his career by posting a career-best 4.044/305.22 lap in qualifying, saw his hopes of ...

BECKMAN BUMPED OUT IN RICHMOND FIRST ROUND

DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 11, 2009) - Jack Beckman, who scored his first No. 1 qualifier of the year and the second of his career by posting a career-best 4.044/305.22 lap in qualifying, saw his hopes of earning his first Funny Car championship diminish after being bumped out in the opening round of the NHRA Virginia Nationals.

In the first pairing of Funny Car eliminations at Virginia Motorsports Park, Beckman struck the tires on the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/Mail Terminal Services Dodge at the 330-foot mark of the 1000-foot drag strip and pedaled to a 4.582-second loss at 257.58 mph, while part-time racer John Smith claimed the victory with a 4.259/291.01.

Beckman fell to fifth place in the Countdown to 1 playoffs standings with that result, and ended the day in sixth place, when runner-up finisher Tim Wilkerson moved around him. With only two events remaining in the playoffs before a champion is named, Beckman remains on the hot seat.

"We're running out of rounds," he said. "There's no excuses. We overpowered the lane, and we're down to eight rounds of racing right now to the end of the year. It's not over yet, but now we have to go win two races, which is doable. We've won back-to-back races and I do think we've got a car capable - and we just proved it - of running at the top of the heap. If we can get back that consistency that had been our trademark we can win those two races.

"We're going to have to hope the other cars stumble right now, as that's going to be our only shot for the championship.

"We like to run first for a couple of reasons," he added, of the team's choice to be in the first pair out. "First round, when the sun's out, the track doesn't do anything but get warmer. And, if you run right after the Top Fuel dragsters, a lot of times the starting line, because the cars smooth it out with their longer wheelbase, is a little bit better. I don't think that that bit us.

"Our teammate Matt Hagan's team looks like they had the same problem several pairs later (similar result for the No. 3 qualifier in the right lane), so we can't second guess ourselves. All we can do is look at the data and figure out what we need to do better next race. But there really isn't any point in hitting our heads and getting frustrated about it, because they're not going to let us rerun it. We just have to look forward, we have to be smart about it and we have to go out and win two races."

Next up is the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Matt Hagan