BROWNBURG, Ind. (Sept. 27, 2017) - Every NHRA racer would like to win at a racetrack in consecutive years and this weekend at the sixth annual NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis driver Jack Beckman can accomplish that in Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
"I think we have a great running car," Beckman said. "We are within striking range of the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship. I don't think we can take over first place at the next race but we can chip away at that lead if we execute well."
Beckman and the team led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh are ranked fifth and 100 points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.
In 2016 at Gateway, the Infinite Hero team definitely executed well. Beckman defeated Dale Creasy Jr., John Force and Capps before meeting another teammate, Tommy Johnson Jr., in the final round.
It was a battle of the Chandlers' "Giving Cars,' as Johnson's Dodge is also funded by the Chandlers and banners the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Johnson went up in tire smoke and Beckman got the round win and the NHRA Wally Trophy.
Beckman has won at Gateway twice (2012, 2016) and finished as the runner-up twice (2010, 2013).
The event this weekend marks the third event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff. In a little over two months, NHRA will crown the 2017 Funny Car world champion and Beckman would love nothing more than to wear that crown for the second time in his career.
"I recognize that there are a lot of things that we have no control over: the weather, the way the eliminations ladder stacks up on Sunday and what the car in the other lane does. All we can manage is our team, our attitude and our race car. If we do that to the best of our ability, no matter what the result is, we can hold our heads high."
JACK BECKMAN, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 5th 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)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 22-24, Reading, Pa.: Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals to Courtney Force
A year ago at Gateway: Qualified No. 2, won in championship round over Tommy Johnson Jr.
Career at Gateway: Wins 2 (2012, 2016), Runner-ups 2 (2010, 2013), Poles 1 (2012)
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Standings after Reading, 2nd of 6 events in the Countdown playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
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