Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 2 (3.900 E.T. at 330.23 MPH)
E1: 4.102 E.T. at 237.96 MPH defeated Bye
E2: 3.875 E.T. at 331.94 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 3.962 E.T. at 328.46 MPH
E3: 3.898 E.T. at 327.59 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 5.216 E.T. at 144.83 MPH
E4: 3.880 E.T. at 329.42 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.881 E.T. at 329.75 MPH
Norco, Calif. resident Jack Beckman was hoping to end the day at his home track with his first Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Funny Car Wally but would have to settle for a runner-up finish.
Beckman and the Dean Antonelli/John Medlen-led Infinite Hero Foundation team qualified second for the NHRA Winternationals by recording the quickest pass (3.900 seconds) of the final qualifying session.
Beckman was scheduled to run opposite Phil Burkhart Jr. in round one of eliminations, but his opponent did not make the call, allowing Beckman to earn his 400th round win once he took the lights. In the quarterfinals, the 2012 Funny Car world champion made his best pass of the weekend (3.875 seconds) to earn the round win and meet his teammate, Tommy Johnson Jr., in the semifinals. Beckman navigated the Infinite Hero Hellcat cleanly down the track and posted a 3.898 to activate the win light against Johnson.
The stage was set for an epic final round matchup between the two highest qualified drivers. Beckman, who won his first NHRA national event at the 1998 Winternationals while competing in Super Comp, laid down a 3.880 second pass against Robert Hight, but Hight was able to maintain his narrow starting line advantage to snag the holeshot victory.
“As a driver, the last thing you want is to look at that time slip and see that you got beat on a holeshot. Final rounds are a little different because drivers will roll it in a little bit because we don’t care about lane choice.
“I am so proud of everybody here. We didn’t test. We were struggling until the last qualifying run and then laid down a lap that put us second, but I don’t think that painted the full picture. We had made wholesale changes – five out of our six clutch discs are different than when we left here in November, and for the guys to zero-in on it that quick without the benefit of pre-season testing and take this car to the final round and run it as quick as anybody right now, I can’t wait for Phoenix.”