POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2017) - After entering race day as the No. 1 qualifier, Funny Car driver Jack Beckman wanted nothing more than to finish the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series season than with a win in Pomona.
Unfortunately, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation team was defeated by their Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team, also funded by the Chandlers, in the semifinal round of the season finale.
"I think the nice thing about this is we now know we have a car that can win any race," Beckman said.
"In the last few races we haven't had any of those lucky breaks in the rounds and once in a while you need those. I was so proud of the guys after the first round. We're warming up for the second round and the clutch seized up.
"So, we had to install a spare clutch cannon and they don't always respond the same. So, the fact that they were able to make the adjustments, we went out there and got the second-round win."
Beckman opened race day as the No. 1 qualifier with his 3.835-second pass at 329.10 mph from Friday. He got the round one win with his 3.837 (333.74) lap over Jeff Arend.
In the second round, he went 3.851 (332.51) to outrun John Force.
Later in the semifinals, Beckman got off the starting line first but Johnson got to the stripe first with his 3.890 (329.18) lap over Beckman's 3.914.
Johnson then went onto to win the event over Robert Hight.
"In the semis against Tommy, the car just didn't do exactly what it was supposed to do. It's a bummer because that round would've been third place in the points. But I don't think we have to change anything in the offseason. I think we get to freshen our inventory, go test and we're ready to unload at the Winternationals."
Beckman will finish the 2017 NHRA season fourth in Funny Car championship standings.
2017 NHRA world champion: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)
Event winner: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Jack Beckman (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.835 sec., 334.98 mph
JACK BECKMAN, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
First round: BECKMAN (3.837 sec., 333.74 mph) def. Jeff Arend (10.678, 85.73)
Second round: BECKMAN (3.851, 332.51) def. John Force (3.932, 310.98)
Semifinals: Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.890, 329.10) def. BECKMAN (3.914, 327.74)
Qualified: No. 1
FRIDAY: 6.825 sec., 95.35 mph, (Session 1); 3.835, 334.98, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.249, 320.40, (Session 3); 3.859, 332.34, (Session 4)
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS - FINAL
(Official standings after 24th of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight-CHAMPION (4) 2686 -----
2. RON CAPPS (8) 2588 -98
3. Courtney Force 2543 -143
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2519 -167
5. MATT HAGAN (4) 2470 -216
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (2) 2452 -234
7. John Force (1) 2388 -298
8. Tim Wilkerson 2296 -390
9. J.R. Todd (2) 2282 -404
10. Cruz Pedregon 2178 -508