SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2012) – A little bit of luck and some great driving skills propelled Jack Beckman and the Valvoline NextGen Funny Car team to a semifinal finish Sunday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Northern California’s Napa Valley.
The start to Beckman’s day wasn’t exactly what he and crew chief Todd Smith planned when the Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T slowed to a 4.32-second elapsed time when opponent Dale Creasy Jr. had greater traction problems.
“I thought we had made it out of the trouble zone and then we weren’t,” Beckman said. “You don’t know what the car in the other lane is doing out here, it’s not like you have a rear-view mirror. I gave the throttle a quick slap and we got the win light.”
In the second round, Beckman’s car once again suffered problems, but a nice recovery by the driver earned the round win over Alexis DeJoria who also lost traction.
“We had a couple of fortuitous breaks in the first two rounds, but you know what, when you’re running good enough sometimes you put yourself in that position to get a little racing luck and that’s nice.”
In the semifinal, Beckman ran his best time of the day at 4.118 seconds and 304.19 mph but it wasn’t enough to beat the 4.092 (307.16) thrown at him by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Johnny Gray, the eventual event winner.
“We ran hard in the semis,” Beckman said. “We ran quick enough to beat everybody other than our teammate Johnny Gray and that Big O Tires/SpeeDee Lube team. They’ve been running stellar.”
Despite not winning a second consecutive title on the grueling three-race Western Swing, Beckman was satisfied with the Sonoma outing.
“It’s hard to complain,” he said. “We solidified third place in the points.
Beckman acknowledges catching breaks in his first two rounds but doesn’t expect to be as lucky when they travel to Kent, Wash., for this week’s NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Event winner: Johnny Gray, DSR
No. 1 qualifier: Cruz Pedregon, 4.028, 307.30
Jack Beckman, NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 2
First round: BECKMAN (4.323 sec., 235.47 mph) def. Dale Creasy Jr. (5.514, 128.87)
Second round: BECKMAN (4.972, 214.38) def. Alexis DeJoria (5.214, 168.40)
Semifinals: Johnny Gray (4.092, 307.16) def. BECKMAN (4.118, 304.19)
Session 1: 4.394 sec., 209.01 mph
Session 2: 4.042, 311.70
Session 3: 4.159, 296.44
Session 4: 4.126, 304.46
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(through Aug. 29, 2012; Sonoma, Calif.; * clinched spots in Countdown)
1.* Robert Hight, 1112
2. *RON CAPPS, 1031
3. JACK BECKMAN, 943
4. Mike Neff, 899
5. JOHNNY GRAY, 881
6. Cruz Pedregon, 761
7. Courtney Force, 740
8. Jeff Arend, 717
9. Bob Tasca III, 687
10. John Force, 674
11. Tim Wilkerson, 605
12. MATT HAGAN, 583
NEXT FULL THROTTLE EVENT
Aug. 3-5, NHRA Northwest Nationals, Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash.
Valvoline, a brand of Ashland Inc, has been serving American motorists longer than any other motor oil. The Valvoline family of products includes Eagle One™ appearance products, Car Brite™ car restoration products, Zerex™ antifreeze, SynPower™ performance products, MaxLife™ products created for higher-mileage engines and NextGen™ motor oil, created with 50 percent recycled oil.
With more than 820 locations throughout the United States, Valvoline Instant Oil Change™ is a leader in serving the quick lube market.
Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 189 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
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