Beckman goes to quarters, earns fifth in season points
Pomona, Sunday: Jack Beckman ended his first full NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season fifth in the Funny Car point standings, following his quarterfinal finish today at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Driving the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Beckman finished the best of the drivers who did not earn a spot in the top four in the Countdown to One playoffs.
The California native, former Air Force sergeant, cancer survivor, and instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School here at Auto Club Raceway, first defeated Gary Densham in the opening round with a solid 4.797-second pass at 324.90 mph, then fell to Mike Ashley in the quarterfinal, losing by a mere 11 inches, despite a stellar 4.799/320.81 pass.
"Twice this year we've tied for No. 1 in qualifying and lost it on the tie-breaker," said Beckman, of North Hills, Calif. "We lost to Gary Scelzi in the Motel 6 closest race of the year by 13 ten thousandths (of a second). That one was 20 ten thousandths. Tough deal.
"Pomona has been a pretty tricky track this year. The lanes move you around. I saw it do it for Scelzi today, I saw it do it for (Ron) Capps. First round it went right down the middle of the lane. In the second round it went out there, moved toward the centerline just enough to spin the tires, and that was probably the difference in the race, and those are the ones that sting so bad to lose.
"We're leaving here in fifth, and that's great. It was nice to lock up the Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge season championship. It's nice that during the entire off season we'll be the Skoal Showdown points leader, and at the end of this race we're all going to be tied for points for next year for the POWERade championship. We're going to start looking toward building for 2008 now."
As for his first full season in the Funny Car class: "Highs and lows this year," he said. "We ended last year with such a flurry. Coming out this year, having to change chassis, winning the back-to-back races, winning the Skoal Showdown were just highlights of a career, much less a season. And to do that all in the same season was amazing.
"It's bittersweet right now because I think we had the car to beat this weekend and to lose that close of a race is tough. But MTS is back on board for next year, and we're going to keep plugging away."
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