2014 NHRA: $4 Part Costs Beckman, Valvoline MaxLife Team Chance At Second Kansas Nationals Title In Three Years At Heartland Park Topeka
Jack Beckman was itching for win lights Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka. Precisely four of them.
Unfortunately for the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world champion, a $4 throttle cable bracket cost Beckman and his Valvoline MaxLife team a chance at a second Topeka win in three years.
"When your opponent runs a 4.50, you have to win those rounds," Beckman said of opponent Jeff Arend's first round 4.504-second elapsed time. "You have to. You can't have stuff like this happen. We blew up everything at Atlanta and had to go to our spare injector and all that stuff goes with it. It actually broke the bracket that contains the throttle cable. You can't have those $4 parts cost you races.
"There's no silver lining to this. We ran solid in qualifying. We had a car capable of winning and we didn't get a single win light. This team is not going to be where it's supposed to be until we're in the winner's circle."
Beckman's Dodge Charger R/T started from the No. 9 position after three solid laps in qualifying at Heartland Park, but the instant the 15-time NHRA winner stepped on the throttle pedal during his round-one match with Arend, his red, white and blue flopper launched and then coasted down most of the 1,000-foot track.
"There are no guarantees in nitro Funny Car," Beckman said. "You can win the next four races or lose in the first round at 10 straight races. I'm always confident because we have the parts and people, but until we're in the winner's circle, we're not where we are supposed to be."
Beckman will have the chance to put his Dodge Charger R/T in the winner's circle and be where he wants to be in one week when the NHRA Mello Yello series visits Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
The following are Beckman's results and other event notes for the NHRA Kansas Nationals.
Event winner: Courtney Force
No. 1 Qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing) 4.009 sec., 322.96 mph (both track records)
JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 9
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
FIRST ROUND: Arend (.083 4.504, 278.52) def. BECKMAN (.093 11.276, 70.57)
FRIDAY: 4.095 sec., 309.77 mph, (Session 1); (Session 2, rained out)
SATURDAY: 4.081, 310.70, (Session 3); 4.105, 310.05, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
Unofficial, through May 25, 2014, Kansas
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight, (4), 770
2. John Force, (1), 566
3. Alexis DeJoria, (2), 509
4. RON CAPPS, 502
5. Courtney Force (1), 492
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR., 452
7. Del Worsham, 433
8. MATT HAGAN, 403
9. JACK BECKMAN, 401
10. Tim Wilkerson, 384