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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Event Recap: First Round
Posted by: newsla on Jun 16, 2014 - 06:54 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Event Recap: First Round

Jack Beckman is looking for round wins in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the next opportunity can't come quickly enough for the driver of the Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.


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After reaching the semifinals at the previous event at Englishtown, N.J., Beckman was lost in the opening round to Courtney Force in Sunday's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

The team led by Rob Flynn qualified No. 11 after spark plug problems plagued the team during Saturday's two sessions.

"After a good opening lap in qualifying on Friday, there were a lot of reasons for high expectations here," Beckman said. "We always expect to do well, then we just had some issues. It was blowing spark plugs out in the other qualifying runs which had us scratching our heads a little bit."

On Sunday morning at Bristol, the team faced warm temperatures and sunny skies for the second straight day and the Valvoline team knew they would have to make an impressive run to turn on the round-one win light.

"We took a nice tune-up up there," he said. "We knew Courtney (Force) was going to be quick and even though it was a tricky race track we thought we needed to run a 4.14 or better and everything looks perfect. The computer data from that overlays with our 4.12 from fantastic qualifying run and then you get to those bumps in the left lane. That's where having lane choice can decide a race. We think it just unsettled the car enough that we overpowered it."

Beckman dropped two positions to 11th in NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car points standings as the series travels to Epping, N.H. to race next weekend for the second of four consecutive races.

"No excuses, we'll move on to Epping," said Beckman. "We have three more in the next three weekends, we just need to get some round wins."

The following are Beckman's results and the NHRA Funny Car points standings:

No. 1 Qualifier: Del Worsham (Kalitta Motorsports), 3.992 sec.*, 319.45 mph* (*track records)

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 11
FRIDAY: 4.123 sec., 308.99 mph, (Session 1); 4.458, 199.17, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.374, 249.72, (Session 3); 4.338, 242.89, (Session 4)
FIRST-ROUND OPPONENT: Courtney Force (4.199, 302.35) def. BECKMAN (4.787, 181.64)

(Unofficial through 10 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
FUNNY CAR driver (wins) points points behind
1. Robert Hight (4) 905 ----
2. John Force (1) 640 -265
3. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 627 -278
4. Alexis DeJoria (2) 619 -286
5. Del Worsham 593 -312
6. Courtney Force (1) 581 -324
7. RON CAPPS 571 -334
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 538 -367
9. Tim Wilkerson 533 -372
10. MATT HAGAN 527 -378
11. JACK BECKMAN 512 -383

DSR owner Don Schumacher honored at Bristol
Don Schumacher, who won many Funny Car titles at Bristol Dragway in the early 1970s, was honored Sunday as the 2014 Legend of Thunder Valley during pre-race ceremonies before the start of the Thunder Valley Nationals at the famed Tennessee track.

Schumacher, one of the early Funny Car drivers and a longtime safety innovator in drag racing, won several International Hot Rod Association titles at Bristol including three of five in 1971. He also owns five NHRA national event titles as a driver/owner and since starting Don Schumacher Racing in 1998 he has won 11 NHRA world championships and 220 NHRA event titles.

The Chicago native, who will be 70 in November, fielded seven professional teams this weekend at Bristol. He was inducted in May 2013 into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., with NASCAR stalwarts Rusty Wallace, Rick Hendrick and Dale Inman. He was enshrined in the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.

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