Beckman out in first round
Sonoma, Sunday: Jack Beckman did not sweep the Western Swing after winning back-to-back events in Denver and Seattle. Instead, he went home early from Sonoma after being eliminated in the opening stanza of Funny Car eliminations at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
Beckman, driving the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, joined his teammates Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps in exiting the first round.
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series class point standings, however, stayed pretty much status quo. Capps remained first, Beckman fifth, and Scelzi sixth. The top eight will compete in the Countdown to the Championship, which begins following the next two national events in Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Pa.
The MTS Dodge had earned the Full Throttle Challenge Award for consistency in qualifying after recording four solid and straight passes to garner the No. 2 spot, then uncharacteristically smoked the tires in that round against Cruz Pedregon. Beckman took off at the starting lights .030 of a second ahead, but the loss of traction slowed him to a 7.565-second pass at 112.25 mph, while Pedregon grabbed the victory with a 4.900/301.67.
"Three weeks ago if somebody said we would win two out of the three Western Swing races, we would have taken that, but losing stinks," said Beckman.
"We're trying to be philosophical. We won the Full Throttle Award. It's not like we struggled here. The track was very tricky first round. Our tune-up just couldn't handle the track. But, we still have the best hot rod going and we're going to take it to Brainerd in two weeks.
"I think we're in wonderful shape. We didn't take any hit in the points. Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 all went out the first round. We're still two rounds out of third. Hopefully we can close that up at the next race."
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