Monday, July 23, 2007

Beckman wins again!

Round 14 of 23
Pacific Raceways
Kent, Wash.
July 20-22, 2007

KENT, Wash. (July 22, 2007) - "Fast" Jack Beckman won his second straight NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car national event today, his third career, and the first at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways. And he did it against the 14-time Funny Car champion John Force.

Beckman, driving the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, now has a career round-win record over John Force of 3-2, 3-0 in 2007, and 1-1 in final rounds. Force defeated Beckman in the final round in Pomona, Calif., in November, 2006, in Beckman's fifth-ever race in the Funny Car class.

After qualifying third in the single qualifying round held this weekend because of rain, Beckman defeated Jim Head (4.866/305.56), Del Worsham (4.790/323.43) and Kenny Bernstein (4.832/285.11) in eliminations delayed due to persistent rain sprinkles, before meeting up with Force.

In the final round match-up and without lane choice for the first time in eliminations, Beckman launched first with a .062 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Force's .094. Force then took over the lead at half-track, but a fire under the hood slowed him to a 5.235-second finish at 203.03 mph, while Beckman soared to a winning 4.829/320.97. Margin of victory: 100 feet.

"We won the race," said Beckman, who with everyone else believed today would be a rain-out. "There's not an asterisk next to that trophy that says it was a hot (and wet) day or NHRA had to prep the track 50 different times. When I got up this morning I thought I'll go down to the pits just so they know I didn't sleep in and then I'll catch up on my blogs the rest of the day. We thought there was a zero percent chance of running. When we got two runs in I thought, Man, NHRA did a fantastic job to get us this far.

"I can't believe we finished the whole race today. They gave us a safe race track to run on. You look at the times (for all four cars) in the semis: 4.78, .79, .80 and .82. So, the race track was as good in the semis and the finals as it was all weekend long. And it's amazing. It's just starting to sink in right now. I got my second Funny Car Wally in a row, third in the last 15 races.

"When he (Force) beat us in the final at the race we set the national E.T. record in November last year, I didn't see him the whole race. Our car was trucking, the front end got light, it moved over. But I didn't think anybody was going to get around that car, it was a beast. And his win light came on.

"So, I wasn't taking anything for granted because I couldn't see him in the final (today). The car was moving good. The finish line can't come up fast enough when you don't know how far ahead of the other guy you are. Our win light came on, got the 'chutes out, I'm starting to slow down and all of a sudden I saw him. But what I saw was a big ball of orange coming out his fender. Well, I'm like, that's interesting. I beat him and he still gets more TV time than I do," laughed Beckman.

"Nobody counted Force out of getting in this Countdown. That Castrol freight train is on a mission right now, but I would not switch our MTS Dodge for any other Funny Car in the pits right now. And I think if you look at the last five races, I think everybody would agree with me. We have got the baddest hot rod out there. And it's (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler, and all those awesome MTS guys, who make it that way."

Beckman moved into fifth in the Funny Car point standings and has swept two of the three Western Swing events so far.

Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 27-29.

1. Ron Capps, 998
2. Robert Hight, 849
3. Mike Ashley, 798
4. Tony Pedregon, 772
5. Jack Beckman, 743/763 (in final round)
6. Gary Scelzi, 730
7. Jim Head, 709
8. John Force, 632/652 (in final round)
9. Cruz Pedregon, 588
10. Ashley Force, 572

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