CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2017) - No NHRA driver wants to lose in the first round during a national event but losing the opening round of the Countdown to the Championship playoff is one that Jack Beckman hopes will not hurt a chance at a championship.
"I just hope that this one doesn't come back to bite us at the end of the year," said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car champion and driver of Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing.
"You can't not take advantage of that big of an opportunity."
No round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series is easy but when Beckman entered the event as the No. 4 qualifier and was matched against No. 13 Jim Campbell, the team had to like their chances of a round win.
When the two lined up for the first round, Beckman left the starting line nearly three tenths of a second before Campbell but he had issues down track and Campbell drove around him. Beckman slowed to a 4.534-second lap at 225.82 mph to Campbell's 4.189 effort.
"If someone had told me that you're going to race the No. 13 car and you're going to have a reaction time of more than three tenths better than them, you get a free head start, I would have thought it's a 100 percent shot that we win the race and we smoked the tires.
"I pedaled, and it started to move over towards the center line and I didn't want to take the cones out, so I lifted early and we lost by 16 thousandths of a second. If we would have lost by a second, it wouldn't have stung this bad because I feel like if I would have done a better job of pedaling the car, we would have been 17 thousandths ahead and we would have still been able to salvage the win light.
"It's a team effort. When we win, we win as a team of 11 plus all the folks back at the Don Schumacher shop and when we lose, it's the same thing. I don't know what this does. It's a big hole at we've dug ourselves into. We just need to move forward and figure out what this thing needs on a hot race track. We just never quite zeroed in on our horsepower numbers this weekend. We either other shot it or under shot it. We are going to make sure that we get all of our hard parts at the same power level so that this doesn't bite us again."
The 10th annual Carolina Nationals marks the first event of the NHRA's six-race playoffs. The next race begins next week at Maple Grove Raceway at the Dodge NHRA Nationals.
JACK BECKMAN, Doug & Terry Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
First round: Jim Campbell (4.189 sec., 295.85) def. BECKMAN (4.539, 225.82)
Qualified: No: 4
FRIDAY: 5.820 sec., 117.11 mph, (Session 1); 3.906, 330.47, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.565, 187.60, (Session 3); 3.988, 325.92, (Session 4)
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)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 1-4, Indy: Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals to Ron Capps
2016 Fall at zMAX: Qualified No. 5, lost in first round to Del Worsham
2017 Four-Wide: Qualified No. 10, runner-up to Ron Capps
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 2 (2011, 2015); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
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