JOLIET, Ill. (July 1, 2012) – Jack Beckman is a Southern Californian but was treated like a hometown hero during the NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago.
Beckman’s regular Valvoline NextGen Funny Car body was left at team headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind., and the Dodge Charger R/T body he used at Route 66 Raceway was adorned in the silver, red and black colors of Schumacher Electric.
Schumacher Electric Corp. is the world’s largest manufacturer of battery chargers and based in Chicago. Don Schumacher owns the business along with Don Schumacher Racing, which fielded seven cars in the annual NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event held about an hour from where he grew up and maintains a residence.
Beckman and crew chief Todd Smith came close to putting the hometown car in the winner’s circle except a dropped engine cylinder ended the team’s day in the semifinals.
“We had the Schumacher Electric paint scheme, and at lot of those folks came out and I don’t think any of them left disappointed,” Beckman said.
“The only thing that’s disappointing is there are a few races when you get that feeling the way the car’s running and how the (eliminations) ladder comes out that it’s going to be your day. You have to capitalize on those days.”
After qualifying third best, Beckman and Smith produced the second quickest run (4.093 seconds) in the first round and quickest (4.099 seconds) in the second round before the engine failure slowed them to 4.213 in the loss to Jeff Arend’s 4.106 in the semifinals. Arend went on to defeat Courtney Force for the event title.
“I really thought we had the best Funny Car on the grounds, and the first two rounds (on Sunday) the scoreboard showed it,” Beckman said.
“As soon as I pushed down on the throttle the engine dropped a cylinder that tried to drive the car to the left. It still ran OK. If Jeff’s car had a hiccup we could have won.
“We moved up one spot in the standings to third. Overall it was a good weekend.”
The following are Beckman’s event results:
Event winner: Jeff Arend, Kalitta Motorsports
JACK BECKMAN, Schumacher Electric/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 3
First round: BECKMAN (4.093, sec., 308.00 mph) def. Matt Hagan (4.176, 301.60)
Second round: BECKMAN (4.099, 306.60) def. Johnny Gray (5.751, 124.12)
Semifinals: Jeff Arend (4.106, 306.95) def. BECKMAN (4.213, 292.71)
Session 1: 4.158 sec., 3301.40 mph
Session 2: 4.054, 311.56
Session 3: 4.151, 295.79
Session 4: 4.567, 182.33
FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Unofficial July 1 through 11 of 23 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight, 950
2. RON CAPPS, 854
3. JACK BECKMAN, 701
4. JOHNNY GRAY, 687
5. Mike Neff, 686
6. Jeff Arend, 556
7. Courtney Force, 554
8. Bob Tasca III, 549
9. Cruz Pedregon, 545
10. John Force, 536
13. MATT HAGAN, 427
July 5-8, NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio
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