BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20, 2017) - After getting a fortuitous break in Sunday's first round, Jack Beckman's luck went up in smoke in the second round of the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
"A lot of times you have race weekends where from the moment you unload the car on Friday morning until the moment you put it back in the trailer after the winner's circle Sunday night, everything goes right. This was not one of those weekends for the Infinite Hero team," Beckman said of Terry and Doug Chandler's Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team.
"We had an air-line leak on our first qualifying run. I have never done a burnout where the thing stuck the tire and yanked the front end. After that, we made three solid runs, he said of qualifying sixth.
"Went to load the car Saturday night and it wouldn't steer. A chunk of metal had come loose in the steering box and we thought, 'well, we're really being watched over right now.' Then we go up there in this morning and dodged a huge bullet when Brian Stewart redlights before we overpowered the track."
Beckman qualified with a time of 3.886 seconds at 333.25 mph on Friday night. He lined up with the No. 11 qualifier Stewart and went up in smoke and coasted to a 4.290 (207.56) while Stewart's disallowed time was quicker.
In the second round, Beckman smoked the tires against John Force.
"We thought we made the proper adjustments, we took what we thought was going to be a really quick racecar up there second round and it literally did not go one foot before it smoked the tires," Beckman said.
In two weeks, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series heads to Indianapolis of the prestigious U.S. Nationals. The points standings will then be reset for the NHRA's version of the playoffs. Beckman and the Chandlers' Dodge dropped one spot to fifth in points.
"We're OK, we're solidly in the Countdown (to the Championship) and we want to win Indy. We still have a chance to move up a position or two before they reset the Countdown points."
This week, the Infinite Hero team will join other top nitro teams for testing Wednesday and Thursday at Indy.
"We will work our tails off Wednesday and Thursday, and flog this car, and make sure we exorcise our demons. I am not superstitious, but we just had a whole bunch of dumb racing luck here at Brainerd. We'll get that out of our system and move forward."
JACK BECKMAN, Doug & Terry Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BECKMAN (4.290 sec., 207.56 mph) def. Brian Stewart (4.083, 247.25-DQ/redlight)
Second round: John Force (3.896, 335.48) def. BECKMAN (9.505, 72.67)
Qualified: No. 6
FRIDAY: 6.535 sec., 129.18 mph, (first session); 3.886, 333.25, (second session)
SATURDAY: 3.931, 326.87, (third session); 3.914, 329.83, (fourth session)
BRAINERD BY THE NUMBERS
A year ago at Brainerd: Qualified No. 4, lost in second round to DSR teammate Ron Capps
Career at Brainerd: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2008, 2010), Poles 3 (2012, 2013, 2012)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 16 2 2 3 7 2 0 0 26-14
CAREER 268 26 27 48 80 80 21 7 358-235
Career best time, speed: 3.825 sec., (2016 Pomona 2); 334.15 mph (Seattle 2016)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Brainerd; 17 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 1,383 ----
2. Robert Hight (2) 1,247 -116
3. MATT HAGAN (3) 1,214 -149
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 1,180 -183
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 1,160 -203
6. Courtney Force 1,012 -351
7. John Force (1) 954 -409
8. Tim Wilkerson 792 -571
9. J.R. Todd (1) 788 -575
10. Alexis DeJoria (1) 664 - 699