Minor a reluctant winner over teammate Beck
Reprinted from the June 10, 1983 issue of National DRAGSTER
NHRA CAJUN NATIONALS -- You could almost see it coming from the beginning of the season: Before year's end there would be an all-Team Minor final round. It finally happened at the Cajun Nationals and the outcome was a most unexpected one: Larry Minor beat Gary Beck.
For the first time in four races, Beck and Minor qualified on opposite sides of the ladder, Beck in at his usual No. 1 at 5.582 (Low E.T.) and Minor in at No.6 with a 5.73. People should have known something was different, this time.
Minor raised some eyebrows with a 5.69 at just 238.72 to beat Jody Smart in round one and then remained consistent with a 5.70, again at 238.72 to derail Gene Snow's 5.84 effort and put Minor into his first ever NHRA final round. It took him just four career races to do it.
Beck was also making lots of waves in his half of the field by taking close, but very quick, wins from two of the toughest racers going right now in Richard Tharp and Shirley Muldowney.
It took Beck just 5.599 seconds to put "King Richard" on the trailer in round one with Tharp fighting back all the way with a fine 5.68, 251.39.
Beck then had to face Shirley in the semi's with memories of a stinging semifinal loss at the Winternationals probably still fresh in his mind. Beck hung it all out on the leave, beating the usually razor-sharp Shirley off the line with a fantastic .441 leave and never looking back. Beck pounded out a 5.68, 244.56 to hold back the World Champ's 5.77, 245.23.
After two straight losses to Beck, Minor was maybe looking for a little revenge on the "A-Team" car as he got about a half a wheel out on Beck off the line in the final. Just as the two left the launch pad, Beck tossed a blower belt (the same thing happened to Minor at the Gatornationals) while Minor was encountering problems (tire shake) of his own slowing the race to a coasting match that saw Minor nip Beck at the top end with an 8.73 at an exhilarating 63.42 over Beck's powerless 8.95 at a slightly quicker 85.46.
Despite the fact the car Team, Minor would have liked to have seen win (Beck) didn't, Minor was still in great spirits and has announced his intentions to attend every national event he can ... which may just be bad news for Shirley, Tharp, Snow, Smart, et al come the Spring Nationals.