2013 NHRA: Jack Beckman AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Event Recap: Semifinals
Jack Beckman didn't leave with what he wanted most, but the driver of the MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T was able to get a little closer to the points lead.
The reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion advanced the furthest of the four Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car teams, but a semifinal finish fell short of his quest to win a title for the first time in the AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas and to get his first Mello Yello title of the season.
"We won't leave here with what we wanted most, but were able to get 20 points closer to the points lead," said Beckman, who lost in the semifinals to John Force.
After losing both qualifying sessions on Friday due to heavy rain and then smoking his tires on Saturday's first qualifying attempt, Beckman was ranked 20th of 20 cars before his last qualifying attempt but was able to qualify sixth on his final run.
He defeated Alexis DeJoria in Sunday's opening round and then eliminated DSR teammate and points leader Matt Hagan in the second round.
"Taking Matt out in the second round was huge," Beckman said. "That was exactly what we had to do to stay in the championship hunt. But then once we opened the door up, not being able to take advantage of it stings a little bit.
"We were just a little bit behind it today but our (times) are already almost representative of the best cars in the class so I think when we get more data on this tune-up we are going to be the lead car.
"The good news is that in five days we will be back at again in St. Louis," said Beckman, who fell one spot to sixth in points and cut the deficit to Hagan to 76 points.
Event winner: Cruz Pedregon (Cruz Pedregon Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing) 4.052 sec., 311.85 mph
JACK BECKMAN, MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 6
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BECKMAN (4.107 sec., 306.26 mph) def. Alexis DeJoria (4.158, 301.00)
Second round: BECKMAN (4.131, 304.19) def. Matt Hagan (4.486, 248.84)
Semifinals: Cruz Pedregon (4.135, 297.29) def. BECKMAN (4.551, 209.95)
Both sessions rained out
Session 1: 4.471 sec., 196.10 mph
Session 2: 4.122, 306.12
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
(Unofficial through Sept. 22 near Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN 2,272 (---)
2. Cruz Pedregon 2,221 (-51)
3. Robert Hight 2,209 (-63)
4. John Force 2,208 (-64)
5. JACK BECKMAN 2,196 (-76)
6. RON CAPPS 2,170 (-102)
7. JOHNNY GRAY 2,155 (-117)
8. Courtney Force 2,141 (-131)
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,089 (-183)
10. Del Worsham 2,068 (-204)
2013 REGULAR SEASONS: 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 (Charlotte), C. Pedregon (Dallas).
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 (Finals: TF/Doug Kalitta def. Shawn Langdon; FC/Cruz Pedregon def. John Force).
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
ABOUT MTS/MAIL FOR WOUNDED WARRIORS
Beckman's longtime sponsor MTS, which is owned by part-time Las Vegas residents Rodger and Karen Comstock, are generating positive messages for soldiers who returned from war in Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries and raising funds for the Wounded Warriors organization at each of this year's 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
At Las Vegas, Beckman will drive a special blue, silver and gold camouflage paint scheme to bring added attention to the Mail for Wounded Warriors program.
A kiosk is located near Beckman's pit area where postcards are available and can be completed. The Comstock's will donate $1 for each card turned in at the race.
The Comstocks spearheaded a "Mail from Home" campaign from 2007 to 2010 with Beckman that generated nearly 1 million postcards that were delivered to American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.