2013 NHRA: Jack Beckman AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals
Jack Beckman took a step closer toward defending his 2012 NHRA Funny Car world championship, but he knows his MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T needs to start taking bigger ones.
Beckman along with crew chief Todd Smith and assistant Terry Snyder intend for that to happen this weekend near Dallas in the AAA Fallnationals at the Texas Motorplex and second round of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Beckman had a solid showing last weekend to open the Countdown near Charlotte by advancing to the semifinals where he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Matt Hagan.
The result not only prevented from gaining 20 points on Hagan but it amounted to a 40-point swing in Beckman's mission to overcome the 2011 Funny Car world champion.
"That's the match-up we're going to have to win if we're going to get another championship," Beckman said. "We have to get points on them."
Beckman eliminated a pair of world champions to get to the semifinals where he met Hagan, who went on to finish as the event's runner-up and extend his lead over Beckman to 92 points.
In the first round, he beat the higher qualified Del Worsham, who won the 2011 Top Fuel world title. In the next round, Beckman took out 2003 and 2007 Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon.
But Hagan's 4.084-second run ended the day for Beckman, whose time of 4.116 was his slowest of the day.
"Our car really responded to the changes we made," Beckman said. "It seems to be more predictable and getting closer to what we had with last year's car.
"If you're going to find the right time to dial-in a consistently quick race car, then this is it."
Although Beckman has spent most of his life in Southern California, he knows the Dallas area well and not just because he's raced there regularly. His father, Bob Beckman, lives near Dallas which makes this weekend's visit more special provided the weather cooperates.
"You never know what to expect, and it depends which Dallas you get. Typically it's hot and nasty this time of year when we come to race."
The forecast could be more favorable with highs forecast in the low- to mid-80s with only Saturday in jeopardy of scattered thunderstorms.
The Motorplex is one NHRA national event track where Beckman has not won but was a finalist in 20009.
"We've never won there and haven't won this year yet so we can check two things off our list," he said.
JACK BECKMAN, MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Sept. 13-15, Concord, N.C.): Qualified No. 11; lost in semifinals to teammate Matt Hagan.
Last event at Dallas (Sept. 20-23, 2012): Qualified No. 3; lost in second round to teammate Ron Capps.
Career at Dallas: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2009); poles 0
(After 19 of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events; through Sept. 15)
Pts Races Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2013 4th 19 0 2 5 8 3 1 0 24-19
CAREER 175 15 18 33 51 52 11 6 230-154
Best Time, Speed
3.986** (10-7-12, Reading, Pa.), 320.58** (10-5-12, Reading); ** NHRA national record
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
1. MATT HAGAN 2,214 (--)
2. RON CAPPS 2,132 (-82)
3. Robert Hight 2,128 (-86)
4. JACK BECKMAN 2,122 (-92)
5. John Force 2,116 (-98)
6. Courtney Force 2,106 (-108)
7. JOHNNY GRAY 2,102 (-112)
8. Cruz Pedregon 2,101 (-113)
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,057 (-157)
10. Del Worsham 2,037 (-177)
2013 REGULAR SEASON WINNERS: C. Force, CAPPS, GRAY, C. Pedregon, HAGAN, C. Pedregon, GRAY, GRAY, HAGAN, J. Force, C. Force, HAGAN, GRAY, C. Pedregon, CAPPS, HAGAN, CAPPS, Hight.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Hight.
SCHEDULE FOR TOP FUEL, FUNNY CAR
(Times are CT)
Friday: 3 p.m., 6 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 12 p.m., 3 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
(Times are ET)
Sunday: 8:30 p.m., championship eliminations, delayed
(As of Tuesday afternoon)
Friday: High 81; 60 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms
Saturday: High 85; 20 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 87; 0 percent chance of rain
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Sept. 13-15: Charlotte, N.C. (Finals: TF/Morgan Lucas def. SPENCER MASSEY; FC/Robert Hight def. MATT HAGAN)
Sept. 19-22: Texas Motorplex, Dallas
Sept. 27-29: Gateway Motorsports Park, St. Louis
Oct. 3-6: Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 24-27: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
Nov. 7-10: Auto Club Raceway, Pomona