MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 24, 2017) - It is very easy to place the blame on someone else when mistakes happen, especially when racing an 11,000-horsepower nitro burning Funny Car.
But, Jack Beckman, driver of Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T, was quick to take full responsibility for his team's semifinals lose on Sunday in the 33rd annual NHRA Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
"I'm not going to candy-coat it. It's 100 percent driver error," Beckman said. "It was my worst light of the year. It was a very inopportune time to have my worst light of the year."
In the semifinals, Beckman lined up against Courtney Force. Beckman's reaction time of 0.148 seconds negated a quicker run at 3.948 seconds at 327.74 mph but that wasn't enough to catch Force's slower 3.968.
"We had a great car. I've always said we may not be the quickest car in (ideal) conditions, but throw a little bit of heat on the track and this Infinite Hero car's right at the top of the heap," he said of temperatures in the low 90s. "We showed it today."
The Infinite Hero Dodge made three great passes in the heat ranging from 3.93 to 3.95.
"I let the team down. That's a bitter feeling," he said. "That's tough, knowing everybody did their best and if I'd have done any other light this year it would have won that race. So I'm going to shake it off, I'm going to think positive, we are going to take this thing to St. Louis with a winning mindset and see if we can get the trophy there."
The bright note of the day was Beckman racing in the 600th round of his career in the opening round.
"That's 590 more rounds than I thought I'd be driving in a nitro Funny Car," Beckman said after the run.
Next weekend he'll look for four round wins to add to his tally when the NHRA travels to Gateway Motorsports Park where the Infinite Hero team won the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals last year.
JACK BECKMAN, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
First round: BECKMAN (3.938 sec., 330.63 mph) def. Cruz Pedregon (4.027, 318.39
Second round: BECKMAN (3.952, 326.40) def. Jonnie Lindberg (11.160, 95.71)
Semifinals: Courtney Force (3.968, 329.50) def. BECKMAN (3.948, 327.74)
Qualified: No. 5
FRIDAY:3.914 sec., 330.55 mph, (Session 1); 3.925, 327.82, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.527, 186.67, (Session 3); 3.936, 331.20, (Session 4)
BY THE NUMBERS
A year ago at Reading: Qualified No. 11, lost in semifinals to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Career at Reading: Wins 2 (2008, 2015), Runner-ups 0, Poles 1 (2012)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 7th 20 2 2 5 8 3 0 0 31-18
CAREER 272 26 27 50 81 81 21 7 363-239
Career best time, speed: 3.825 sec., (2016 Pomona 2); 334.15 mph (Seattle 2016)
1. RON CAPPS (7) 2273 -----
2. Robert Hight (3) 2265 -8
3. Courtney Force 2234 -39
4. MATT HAGAN (3) 2183 -90
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2173 -100
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2159 -114
7. J.R. Todd (2) 2135 -138
8. John Force (1) 2116 -157
9. Tim Wilkerson 2098 -175
10. Cruz Pedregon 2065 -208