Beckman makes it into No. 10
Pomona, Saturday: Jack Beckman is not counting himself out of the Funny Car championship after qualifying the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in 10th place today for Sunday's final eliminations rounds of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
After two unsuccessful attempts to qualify in the top four to earn valuable extra points, posting tire-smoking runs of 5.451 seconds at 129.84 mph (DNQ) and 6.096/107.01 (DNQ), the Valvoline/MTS team adjusted the tune-up in the two final runs today, resulting in Beckman's quickest pass of the weekend being recorded in the final session, a 4.123/301.67, an improvement on his first pass today of 4.156/292.14 (No. 10).
The championship contenders for the Funny Car crown are now Cruz Pedregon; Tim Wilkerson, 13 points behind; Robert Hight, minus 39 points; Tony Pedregon, 61 markers back; and Beckman, now 67 points short of top spot. Sunday's eliminations will be a feast for the fans.
"Up until three years ago what's going to happen here at Pomona Raceway would be my fantasy, because I was a fan," said Beckman, who is only in his second full season of professional Funny Car competition. "I'm not so sure as drivers that this is exactly how we wanted it to happen.
"But, if you think about it, the NHRA, the spectators, here at the track and watching on TV, couldn't have asked for anything more exciting. Really, the last four years Funny Car has been the one that's gone down to the wire. I can't wait for the national anthem tomorrow. I feel great."
Beckman faces his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Gary Scelzi in the first round of eliminations. "Now it's going to get interesting," said Beckman. "You have four Schumacher Racing cars qualified, you have four John Force Racing cars qualified, and you really only have one car per camp with the shot at the championship. It's going to be an interesting day tomorrow."
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