Beckman is runner-up to teammate Scelzi
Memphis, Sunday: Jack Beckman scored a runner-up finish today to his teammate Gary Scelzi in a close Funny Car final-round match-up at the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.
It was clear that the DSR duo had similar tune-ups - both cars are tuned by Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler, with Shuler taking the lead on Beckman's Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T - as Scelzi's margin of victory was a mere seven inches, or one thousandth of a second.
Beckman launched just an eye-blink ahead of Scelzi, with a .061 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Scelzi's .066, and led until just before the finish line, when Scelzi took over, winning with a 4.886-second elapsed time at 314.61 mph to Beckman's 4.892/310.55.
On his trip to his third final round of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Beckman disposed of Jerry Toliver, John Force and No. 1 in points Robert Hight. Beckman's round-win record over Force in his short career (five events in 2006 and a full 2007 season) is now 4-3.
With this finish, Beckman moved into the No. 2 slot in the Countdown to Four, behind Robert Hight. All three Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car drivers are slotted into the top four at this point. Two races remain to determine the final top four, who will then battle for the championship in the last two season events.
"It was an outstanding weekend," said Beckman. "It was one thousandth short of being a perfect weekend. Now I'm going to go home to the doctors to see if they can figure out what is wrong with me," added Beckman, who has not felt well for several days, "but I'm wondering if maybe they just could make me feel this way on Sundays. It doesn't seem to affect our car's performance.
"The cool thing is that this was this MTS Dodge's debut. We just tested last week at Indy. It had never been side by side, so it's working perfectly. So the guy's decision to implement a new chassis going into the Countdown is a smart strategic move. Can't wait for Dallas."
As for moving into second, "Awesome. The highest we've been all year long. Now the goal is to stay at least that high for the next two races."
This day was not without drama. "We changed motors after the first round and after the second round," said Beckman. "Had a fuel leak after the first round. I'm not saying I wish for problems, but it's awesome to see how our MTS team responds to issues. We get it fixed and we still fire up before anybody else. The guys are absolutely amazing. They're all frustrated, but nobody's beating their head against anything. We did great, we lost to a better car.
"We had 16 runs this weekend for Todd and Phil (between both cars). Sixteen runs and it's only going to make both of the cars better. Gary's car was a much better car than qualifying showed. They had a lot of little tiny parts malfunctions that they're addressing that don't happen much, so their car was tougher, obviously, because it won the race.
"But, God, are we going to be in great shape down the stretch. I'm so excited."
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