BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 20, 2017) - Despite an early exit at Sunday's NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, driver Jack Beckman with Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team remain optimistic for this weekend's NHRA Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
"Coming off a gut punch lose like that it would be really easy as a team to get down and get discouraged, but that's not what we're about," said Beckman.
Last weekend near Charlotte, Beckman was taken out in the opening round by the lower qualified Jim Campbell of Jim Dunn Racing. Beckman and Infinite Hero team understand the importance of every round win during the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
"Historically, Reading has always been a pivotal race mainly because it was always a little later in the Countdown. For us, it's going to be a pivotal race because we've dug a big hole in the first race of the Countdown.
"So even though they moved Reading earlier into the schedule to try to avoid dicey weather, I think for the Infinite Hero team it's as important or more important for any team."
The Dodge Nationals was moved a week earlier, from the third to second race in the six-event Countdown. In the past several years, weather conditions were chilly and often spiced with rain. This weekend the forecast is for the high 80s with a very slight chance of rain.
The team has ground to make up at this weekend's 33rd annual national event at the picturesque facility.
"You just can't go out early multiple times in the Countdown and hope to win the championship," said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champ who has won two titles at Maple Grove.
"If you look at the last couple season, it takes 14 to 15 round wins in the Countdown to have a legitimate shot at the championship.
"Right now, that would mean us averaging a final round finish so I think we need to take all four round wins at Maple Grove to get right back in the hunt. It's possible that cars in front us could all go out early the next few races but it's not likely. You sure can't depend on your opponents failing for you to succeed."
Beckman currently sits No. 7 in the NHRA points standings, 102 points behind new points leader, Robert Hight of John Force Racing who won the title Sunday near Charlotte.
"I think it's imperative for us to unload with a good run (Friday) and really that preparation started right after we lost at Charlotte. It's the three crew chiefs digging into the data and looking at the hard parts. We think we have some horsepower consistency issues that we're going to address. And it's me getting into that mind set of winning."
JACK BECKMAN, Terry & Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 15-17, Charlotte: Qualified No. 4, lost in first round to Jim Campbell
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 19 2 2 4 8 3 0 0 29-17
CAREER 271 26 27 49 81 81 21 7 361-238
Career best time, speed: 3.825 sec., (2016 Pomona 2); 334.15 mph (Seattle 2016)
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP - FUNNY CAR
(Through Charlotte, 19 of 24 events, 1 of 6 in Countdown playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight (3) 2197 -----
2. Ron Capps (6) 2153 -44
3. Courtney Force 2141 -56
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1) 2107 -90
5. Matt Hagan (3) 2102 -95
5. J.R. Todd (2) 2102 -95
7. Jack Beckman (2) 2095 -102
8. John Force (1) 2085 -112
9. Tim Wilkerson 2046 -151
10. Cruz Pedregon 2033 -164