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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Kansas Nationals Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on May 21, 2014 - 04:06 PM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Kansas Nationals Event Preview

Much like two years ago, this season has been a year of transition for 15-time NHRA Funny Car winner "Fast Jack" Beckman.


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Following the completion of the fourth race of the season at Las Vegas two years ago, Jack experienced a major conversion of his Dodge Charger R/T team when Don Schumacher Racing switched his crew chief and crew with another DSR team. Four races later, Jack and his new team celebrated together in the winner's circle at Heartland Park Topeka.

Jack, who is mired in the midst of a 34-race winless drought that dates back to September 2012, would like nothing more than to revisit the events of two years ago with his 2014 Valvoline squad that started this season with a new crew chief in veteran tuner Rob Flynn and nearly all new crew.

Further complicating racing in successive weekends was a one-day rain delay and a body destroying incident on Saturday at Atlanta Dragway.

"The team is going to scramble back to the shop and switch bodies for that race and drop off the parts that need to be repaired," he said after an engine explosion destroyed his primary Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T body in the final qualifying session. "You don't have time to take a breath. We'll go to Topeka and there's another race the after that in New Jersey. Then as you look down the road you're going to have 11 more of them in a relatively short period of time."

Jack and his Valvoline MaxLife team are facing a bit of adversity, not only in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car standings, but to gear up for consecutive races in Kansas and New Jersey before an off week of NHRA action to give the team a breather and the chance to gather itself before a run of four straight races in June and early July.

"You can't go into a slump right now," Jack said. "You've got to stay in the Countdown (to the Championship) and there are two really good cars that aren't in right now. We have to keep our position up, we have to win rounds. You usually win rounds by making good qualifying runs and you do that by having good data to go off of. We're not going to use what we learned in Atlanta. The racetrack was an issue, the weather was an issue and then we had a parts failure on our fastest qualifying run. It is what it is. We'll move on to Topeka"

Jack, who dropped one spot to seventh in points, needs a get-healthy weekend. The 2012 NHRA Funny Car champion advanced to the final round two races ago near Houston. Now, four win lights on the same Sunday are the perfect remedy for the Valvoline team.

The following are Beckman's Topeka, career and 2014 statistics:

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (May 19), Atlanta: Qualified No. 10; lost first round to Ron Capps
A year ago at Topeka: Qualified No. 9; lost in semifinals to Johnny Gray
Career at Topeka: Wins 1 (2012); Runner-ups 0; Poles (2011)

Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 7th 7 0 1 0 2 3 0 0 6-7
CAREER 191 15 20 35 54 57 10 6 243-166
Best Time, Speed: 3.736 sec. (10-6-12, Reading, Pa.); 320.30 mph (4-15-12, Charlotte 1)

driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight, (4), 730
2. John Force, (1), 524
3. Alexis DeJoria, (2), 472
4. RON CAPPS, 430
5. Del Worsham, 400
Courtney Force, 369
9. MATT HAGAN, 368
10. Tim Wilkerson, 329

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