Beckman rolls to No. 5 in qualifying
Richmond, Saturday: While his DSR teammates Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi were scrambling to get into the Funny Car field and into to the top four in Countdown to Four points, Jack Beckman, third in Countdown rankings, deftly and calmly posted two out of three consistent (one was cancelled because of rain on Friday) qualifying passes to earn fifth place at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Piloting the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T, Beckman joined his teammates Friday night in a tire-smoking round, producing a 10.973/75.39, which, remarkably, was good for No. 16 at the time. Today's second session resulted in a 4.881/309.98, which placed him in 10th. In his final try, he posted a 4.835/308.87, which lobbed him into fifth.
The Funny Car qualifying and Countdown drama was not lost on Beckman. "I said in my interview at the top end that whoever scripted Funny Car for this season couldn't have done it any better. I think Scelzi and Capps were throwing up on each other before that run," he laughed, recalling the 2005 season in which Capps, Scelzi and John Force endured an emotional chase for the title (Scelzi won). Capps qualified 15th, Scelzi eighth. Both are tied in fourth in points.
"lt's interesting. It's very much an individual sport as far as performance goes. It's very much a team sport as far as your team goes. For the Schumacher camp it's even bigger because there's multiple teams. And I root for my teammates.
"But the twist to that is my teammates could make things miserable for us this weekend. But I did want to see them qualify. In a perfect world all three of us will make it into the Countdown to One tomorrow. And I hope that happens.
"It's going to be so exciting. I have no predictions. I don't know what the heck is going to happen tomorrow, but it's a good time to be in the stands."
As for his qualifying attempts, "It spun the tires and hit the rev limiter down there in the last pass," he said. "I actually stepped off 60 feet early, so we might have been on a 4.82 that run, which puts us right on par with the quickest run of the session (Robert Hight's 4.822). We can't be upset with that.
"It ran fast in the left lane, considering the (hot) conditions this morning. It ran real quick in the right lane this afternoon. Last night we just overpowered it. We ain't going to be racing in the dark tomorrow. So the runs that counted we did well on. I have no predictions for tomorrow. I just want to win some rounds."
Beckman faces Jeff Arend in opening round of Sunday's eliminations.
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