BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 13, 2017) - As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series begins its six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team with driver Jack Beckman look to continue their momentum from the regular season as they compete for the NHRA Mello Yello Series championship.
"We have to eliminate parts failure, minimize tune up issues and maximize opportunities for points," said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car World Champion.
"The issue with drag racing is that we run these 11,000-horsepower cars to the ragged edge. Any little issue can cause you problems in eliminations then you don't get to go back and make more laps for points. You're done for the day."
There are only 24 elimination rounds left in the 2017 NHRA season.
"You're only going to get a chance to compete in, at best, 24 rounds and I think that would be overly optimistic for anybody to think they're going to make it to six finals in a row, especially with how competitive Funny Car is right now. What you really need to avoid is the early exits. We can worry the points into the ground or we can keep plugging away like we have been for the past few months."
The Infinite Hero team, led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh, has advanced to the quarterfinals or better since the event at Englishtown, N.J. this summer where they earned their first title of the year. Two weeks later, they won at Norwalk, Ohio.
Over Labor Day Weekend during the U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis, the Infinite Hero team the "race within a race" Traxxas Nitro Shootout all-star event and earned Don Schumacher Racing the $100,000 grand prize.
"We've been heading in a positive direction. We have a good car and we have a quick car. It's just a matter that everybody has to do their job well and you better hope it's better than the team in the other lane.
"I would like to think that if we continue what we've done for the past few months and that's treat every single run, whether it's qualifying or eliminations, with a high level of significance. Then prepare, prepare, prepare and then go out there and execute."
JACK BECKMAN, Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T - won Traxxas Shootout
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 18 2 2 4 8 2 0 0 29-16
CAREER 270 26 27 49 81 80 21 7 361-237
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
Career at zMAX: Wins 3 (2008, 2011, 2015); Runner-ups 1 (2010): Poles 0
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
(Reset for six-race playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 2,100 -----
2. Robert Hight (2) 2,080 -20
3. MATT HAGAN (3) 2,070 -30
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2,060 -40
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2,050 -50
6. Courtney Force 2,040 -60
7. John Force (1) 2,030 -70
8. J.R. Todd (2) 2,020 -80
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,010 -90
10. Cruz Pedregon 2,000 -100