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Nov 10, 2012 - 02:20 PM
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2012 NHRA: Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Team Rebound To No 1 Spot
Posted by: newsla on Nov 10, 2012 - 02:15 PM
2012 NHRA: Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Team Rebound To No 1 Spot; Brown Maintains Top Fuel Points Lead For Matco Tools

Within 24 hours, Jack Beckman went from being on fire to scorching the Auto Club Raceway track with Friday's hottest run to earn the Funny Car provisional pole in the NHRA season-finale at Pomona, Calif.


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Crew chief Todd Smith, assistant Terry Snyder and the Valvoline NextGen team repaired Beckman's damaged Dodge Charger R/T sustained in an explosion that was among the highlights shown that night on ESPN's "Sports Center."

After a late night of repairs, the Don Schumacher Racing team produced a run of 4.025 seconds at 319.75 mph under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s.

Most importantly, it earned Beckman three bonus points for being the quickest in Friday's session that increased his world championship points lead to 7 over DSR teammate Ron Capps, who is ranked 16th heading to Saturday's final two qualifying sessions of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.

That lead assures Beckman that when championship eliminations begin 11 a.m. Sunday that he will be the points leader as both he and Capps are battling for their first NHRA Funny Car world championship.

"These are the things that you dream of," said Beckman, who is going for the fifth pole of the year and ninth in his career.

"You don't think of blowing a car up that bad but when you do you think, 'Would that be unbelievable for this team to come back and go to the top'. That's not practical most of the time. I thought they might give us a 4.07 or 4.08, we'd be back to our baseline tune-up and could lean on it (Saturday).

"A 4.02 at almost 320 ... (Thursday) it was on a great lap before it blew up. Today I started to say we were on a great lap but we weren't quite to the finish line yet. It was just perfect all the way down."

On Friday afternoon, Capps lost traction then pedaled the throttle and briefly regained control before it lost traction again and began to go sideways.

"It just went out and it rattled (the tires)," Capps said of his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge. "It was like a Sprint Car after that. I have the utmost confidence in (crew chief) Rahn Tobler and J.C (assistant John Collins).

"We're all good. We have two good runs left for tomorrow."

No dragsters moved up in the Top Fuel points standings among the four championship contenders, and that was just fine with points leader Antron Brown and DSR's Matco Tools team.

Brown was the sixth quickest on Friday, FRAM/Prestone's Spencer Massey was fourth best and Tony Schumacher was ninth quickest in the U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher was docked five points for putting oil on the racing surface. None were in the top-three and did not earn any qualifying bonus points.

That leaves Brown 70 points ahead of Schumacher and Massey.

"It was important for us to get this weekend off to a good start," said Brown, who is seeking is first Top Fuel championship. "We were just trying to make a clean run and on a track that was really, really good. The Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster was very drivable and we got down the track. Now that we are in the show, we're going to just keep battling. We've got two more rounds of qualifying tomorrow, and we'll just take it one run at a time."

Morgan Lucas of Morgan Lucas Racing holds the provisional pole with a time of 3.761 (324.98) heading to Saturday's last two qualifying sessions.

The following are DSR qualifying results from Friday at Pomona's Auto Club Raceway:

TOP FUEL (Thursday's qualifying session rained out)
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Morgan Lucas (Morgan Lucas Racing), 3.761 sec., 324.98 mph

Spencer Massey, FRAM/Prestone dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 4

Session 1: rained out
Session 2: 3.791 sec., 325.69 mph

Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 6

Session 1: rained out
Session 2: 3.804 sec., 321.27 mph

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 9

Session 1: rained out
Session 2: 3.807 sec., mph

Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Jack Beckman (DSR) 4.025 seconds, 319.75 mph

Johnny Gray, Big O Tires/Service Central Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 5

Session 1: 4.065 sec., 312.66 mph
Session 2: 4.060 sec., 313.22 mph

Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1

Session 1: 4.117 sec., 273.00 mph
Session 2: 4.025 sec., 319.75 mph

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 16

Session 1: 7.675 sec., 71.87 mph
Session 2: 4.700 sec., 183.77 mph

Matt Hagan, Mopar/Aaron's Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 9
Session 1: 8.279 sec., 79.89 mph
Session 2: 4.100 sec., 308.50 mph

Championship Contenders
(Through Nov. 9, 2012; DSR drivers in CAPS)
TOP FUEL Pts. Pts. Behind
1. ANTRON BROWN 2,522 --
2. TONY SCHUMACHER 2,457 -70
3. SPENCER MASSEY 2,452 -70
4. Shawn Langdon 2,406 -116
1. JACK BECKMAN 2,534 --
2. RON CAPPS 2,527 -7
3. Mike Neff 2,445 -89

A perfect weekend for a driver would produce 150 points. Here's how NHRA pro drivers can earn points:
LITTLE POINTS. Every driver who enters an event and makes a qualifying attempt gets 10 points;

In each of four qualifying sessions, the three quickest in each session earn up to 3 bonus points (3 for the quickest, 2 for second quickest and 1 for third quickest). A maximum of 12 qualifying points can be earned at an event by a driver;

Points are awarded incrementally after final qualifying: 1st, 8 points; 2nd, 7 points, 3rd, 6 points; 4th, 5 points; 5th and 6th, 4 points; 7th and 8th, 3 points; 9th-12th 2 points; and 13th-16th, 1 point;

BIG POINTS. During championship eliminations, each of the 16 qualifiers are assured 20 points, then each round winner gets 20 points so the event winner will receive 100 points;

There also is a 20-point bonus for a driver who sets and leaves an event with an NHRA national elapsed-time record. (No bonus points are offered for a national speed record.)

PENALTIES. A driver can lose points as the result of a malfunction that results in fluid being deposited on the racing surface and requires NHRA Safety Safari to clean the track resulting in an event delay.

Saturday: noon, 3 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations

(As of 5 p.m. Friday)
Saturday: High 66, 20 percent chance of showers
Sunday: High 69, 0 percent of rain

Saturday: 6-7 p.m. (EST), qualifying
Sunday: 7-10 p.m. (EST), championship eliminations

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