2013 NHRA: Jack Beckman Brainerd NHRA Nationals Results: Second Round
Reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman lost in the second round of Sunday's championship eliminations in the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, but he left with an important consolation prize.
Beckman, who was the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive Mello Yello Series event, clinched one of eight spots in the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout that will be contested on Sept. 1 during the U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis.
"On Sunday, you have to run better each time," said Beckman, who continues to seek his team's first title of the year.
"Our Achilles' heel right now is consistency. Last year when we told the car what to run more often than not it did. This year it will do it for a while but then it throws us a little curveball. We hope changes we've made has us back on track for that.
"Qualifying No. 1, in theory, gives you a better chance in the first round but in reality it only gets you bragging rights. But how hard our crew has worked to get this car here ... they deserve bragging rights.
"You can keep all the No. 1 qualifiers ... we just want to win a race."
Beckman along with crew chief Todd Smith and assistant Terry Snyder would have preferred to earn their way into the Shootout by winning Sunday's title. They had a great chance this weekend despite arriving at Brainerd with a brand new DSR-built chassis.
"Our timing was right with bringing the new car out now. It gives us this race, testing next week (near Indianapolis) and then the U.S. Nationals to get ready for the Countdown. By that time, we should have great data on this chassis."
The first seven drivers to have won event titles were assured spots in the Shootout with the eighth selection based on a fan vote.
The seventh spot would have gone to a unique event winner at Brainerd and when that didn't happen, the driver without a title this year who was highest in points among non-winners got the slot. That driver was Beckman.
Although DSR teammate Ron Capps defeated Beckman in the second round Sunday, it was Capps' victory over Tim Wilkerson in the semifinals that ensured Beckman that he will join his other six DSR teammates in the Shootouts for Funny Car and Top Fuel.
Next on Beckman's shopping list is one of the last four spots in the Countdown to the Championship, and he hopes that happens in two weeks at the U.S. Nationals. He currently ranks seventh.
The following are Beckman's results and other notes from Brainerd International Raceway.
Jack Beckman, Don Schumacher Hall of Fame Tribute Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 1
First round: BECKMAN (4.073 sec., 311.63 mph) def. Bob Bode (5.242, 143.34)
Second round: Ron Capps (4.073, 309.77) def. BECKMAN (4.102, 309.70)
Session 1: 4.114 sec., 306.53 mph
Session 2: 5.878, 114.65
Session 3: 4.038, 313.37
Session 4: 4.731, 170.30
Sunday: Eliminations, 9 p.m. (ET), delayed
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Unofficial after 17 of 24 events; through Brainerd; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN, 1,253
2. Ron Capps, 1,129
3. JOHNNY GRAY, 1,066
3. Cruz Pedregon, 1,066
5. John Force, 1,054
6. Courtney Force, 1,039
7. JACK BECKMAN, 1,015
8. Tim Wilkerson, 952
9. Bob Tasca III, 906
10. Robert Hight, 902
TRAXXAS NITRO SCHOOTOUT QUALIFIERS
The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near over Labor Day Weekend, showcases Top Fuel on Aug. 31 (Saturday) and Funny Car on Sept. 1 (Sunday). Each Nitro Shootout champ will receive $100,000 for their teams.
The following drivers have qualified by winning Mello Yello Series titles this season:
1. Courtney Force (Pomona 1 winner)
2. RON CAPPS (PHOENIX)
3. JOHNNY GRAY (GAINESVILLE)
4. Cruz Pedregon (Las Vegas 1)
5. MATT HAGAN (CHARLOTTE 1)
6. John Force (Bristol)
7. JACK BECKMAN (highest in points without a 2013 title)
8. Fan vote
The top-10 drivers in points after the Aug. 28-Sept. 2 U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis qualify for the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship that begins Sept. 13 near Charlotte to determine the 2013 season champs in NHRA pro categories.
The following are drivers who are qualified through the past weekend's Mello Yello event at Brainerd, Minn.:
1. MATT HAGAN
2. Ron Capps
3. Cruz Pedregon
4. John Force
5. Johnny Gray
6. Courtney Force
TESTING, TESTING, TESTING
DSR teams and many others from the Mello Yello Series will test Wednesday and Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis in preparation for the 59th annual U.S. Nationals Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at the track.
DSR INDY OPEN HOUSE ON AUG. 30
Fans and friends of Don Schumacher Racing are invited to join the biggest team in professional racing on Aug. 30 at the 8th annual Don Schumacher Racing Open House to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The festive, free event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on that Friday will feature a giant car show, entertainment and appearances by each of DSR's seven professional drivers along with owner Don Schumacher at DSR headquarters at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg, Ind.
The event kicks off the NHRA U.S. Nationals Labor Day Weekend, which opens with professional qualifying later that day at Lucas Oil Raceway located about 3 miles from DSR headquarters.
The Open House, which attracted a record-crowd of more than 4,000 fans last year and boosted DSR's contributions to Riley past the $200,000 mark, invites all to celebrate DSR's 200th NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title.