Beckman bumped out in opening round
Houston, Sunday: Jack Beckman fell out of the Funny Car points lead he earned in qualifying with his first-round exit today in eliminations at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
The driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing faced 14-time Funny Car champion John Force in the first stanza, against whom he had a round-winning edge of 4-3.
Beckman launched at the starting lights with a strong .059-of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect) versus Force's .073 and led until a bump in the right-lane surface caused him to move out of the groove and lose traction. Force claimed the win with a 4.924-second elapsed time at 313.95 mph, while Beckman responded with a losing 6.188/147.28. The score is now tied at 4-4.
"The worst possible thing that could happen is that none of our DSR cars qualify. The second worst is that all of our cars lose first round," he said of each of the DSR Funny Cars going out in the opening round here at Houston Raceway Park. "It sure wasn't what we were looking for, and it looked like our cars almost did four different things out there.
"The race track changed today. That right lane is so tough, but we thought it was better early in the run. We selected it with lane choice because we thought we could get wheel speed early. But the groove in the right lane is so tough to manage because it goes toward the centerline and then there's that bump at half-track. So I was trying to keep it in the middle of the lane before I got to the bump, but wound up going slightly out of the groove and I think that was enough to knock the tires loose.
"There's a lot more opportunities," he added. "We're going to lose a lot more this year than we win. And we're trying to be philosophical. We're going to test some clutch stuff tomorrow. With the extra weight (100 pounds added this season by NHRA to the Funny Cars) we have really got to change our clutch program to get back some of that E.T. that the weight cost us.
"So we're going to try to leave here with our heads high. We're still in good shape in the points. That's one opportunity that we missed. The idea is you want to take advantage of more of them than you let slip by."
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