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Apr 09, 2014 - 06:58 AM
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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Four-Wide Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on Apr 09, 2014 - 06:56 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Four-Wide Event Preview

Jack Beckman owns 15 NHRA Mello Yello Series Wally trophies and none are more unique than the one he earned in 2011 at the most unique event in drag racing.


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Jack won the second annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Funny Car title at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, the world's only four-lane dragstrip. Racing at the track's spring event, which is this weekend, features heats of four drivers in two pair of lanes separated by a center dividing wall. Four drivers contend in each of four qualifying sessions to race in Sunday's 16-car elimination bracket again in four-car heats with the first two crossing the finish line advancing to the next round.

"I like it. I liked it before I won it," he said. "It's something completely different for the fans. You get the same cars but racing in a different format. When friends and fans tell me they want to go to a different race I always tell them go to the Four-Wide because it's at a world-class track and an event you'll never see anywhere else.

"I love it. They used to do this in the '60s but on wide two-lane tracks without a center wall separating the two pairs of Funny Cars."

The four-car format, however, presents elements drivers experience once during the 24-race series.

"The staging procedure is completely different so you have to brush aside everything you've been doing to stage the car in your career, study up on the Four-Wide procedures, practice it, implement it, hope you win and then forget all about for 11½ months.

"The two big differences to the Four-Wide is staging the cars and then in Sunday's eliminations when second place advances so you can't ever give up. You might clearly be getting beaten if you're smoking the tires by the car next to you but you don't know if the pair of cars in the other lanes are having bigger problems than you are. You might have to pedal it eight times to get to the finish line.

"It adds another layer of potential harm to our 10,000-horsepower race cars. And it's the only race where you can be in the final round and finish worse than a runner-up."

Jack's Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T team has advanced to the quarterfinals in each of the past three events. Although he starts the Four-Wide ranked ninth in points he is only 39 points outside of fourth.

"We had a good test the day after the Las Vegas race (two weeks ago), and we expect to be better at the Four-Wide."

Jack is an avid surfer and spent a couple hours Monday catching waves not far from his home in Southern California. He hasn't been able to work out regularly since January when he was slowed by the flu and later while completing work on a new garage at his home in Norco, Calif.
"The beautiful thing about being out of shape is it takes so much less physical exertion to get to a point of exhaustion. When you're in shape you have to work out for so much longer to feel anything and get improvement."

Nothing tops Jack logic. And it makes sense.

JACK BECKMAN: Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 4th 4 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 6-3
CAREER 388 73 53 59 103 92 72 8 670-307
Best Time, Speed: 3.736 sec. (10-6-12, Reading, Pa.); 330.30 mph (4-15-12, Charlotte 1)

Last event (March 28-30, Las Vegas): Qualified No. 14; lost in quarterfinals to Ron Capps
A year ago at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 3; eliminated in second heat
Last fall at zMAX: Qualified No. 11; lost in semifinals to Matt Hagan
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 1 (2011); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 2; Runner-ups 1: Poles 0

driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight (1), 367
2. John Force (1), 358
3. Alexis DeJoria (2), 299
4. RON CAPPS (0), 241
5. Del Worsham (0), 224
6. Courtney Force (0), 207
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 205
8. MATT HAGAN (0), 204
9. JACK BECKMAN (0), 202
10. Bob Tasca III (0), 194

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