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Jun 30, 2014 - 07:03 AM
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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman Route 66 NHRA Nationals Event Recap: First Round
Posted by: newsla on Jun 30, 2014 - 07:01 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman Route 66 NHRA Nationals Event Recap: First Round

The midway point of the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is a time of contemplation for Jack Beckman and Don Schumacher Racing's Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team.


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Jack arrived at Joliet, Ill., for this weekend's Route 66 NHRA Nationals ranked 11th in the standings, which is the lowest he's been in the standings at this point of a season.

But he will remain in that position when the series shifts to Norwalk, Ohio, this week after losing the first round of championship eliminations Sunday for the seventh time in this year's first 12 events.

Jack, who turned 48 on Saturday, aged even more when his Dodge Charger R/T smoked the tires early to slow to 4.397 seconds at 220.48 mph while DSR teammate Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team sailed past to win with a 4.086 (313.07 mph), which was the second quickest run of the round.

"It smoked the tires out about 400 feet, but Hagan could have had the low elapsed time of that round," Jack said. "They made a freaking monster run against us. We know they didn't take us lightly but that's no consolation for us. We have to run up to our potential."

The loss puts Jack 22 points and one spot behind Tim Wilkerson, who is No. 10 in the standings. Only six events remain before the regular season ends and the six-race Countdown to the Championship begins for the 10 best teams after the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend.

"Losing early always is difficult, but if you're leading the points you can frame it in the proper perspective," Jack said. "When you're 11th and trying to get into the Countdown it's a harder punch to the gut. I just know letting it affect our attitude won't help us do any better next week. That being said, win lights make a big difference. Everybody is doing things the way they need to be done but it's just not translating to the on-track performance we need.

"We're putting our backs to the wall and we're getting to the position where we have to win two or three events to jump back into this thing. We'll see. We get to do it again next week in Norwalk."

The Route 66 Nationals was the third of four events in four consecutive weekends that continues next week at Norwalk, Ohio. After a week break the series heads to Denver for the 13th of 24 events in the Mello Yello Series and start of the three-week Western Swing.

Event winner: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.999 sec., 317.19 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 7
FIRST ROUND: Matt Hagan (4.086 sec., 313.07 mph) def. BECKMAN (4.397, 220.48)
FRIDAY: 11.268 sec., 66.61 mph, (Session 1); 4.048, 315.64, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.134, 308.57, (Session 3); 4.080, 298.80, (Session 4)

(Unofficial after 12 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

driver (wins) points behind
1. Robert Hight (4) 1,032 ----
2. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 786 -246
3. John Force (1) 769 -263
4. RON CAPPS (1) 758 -216
5. Alexis DeJoria (2) 747 -227
6. Courtney Force (1) 732 -300
7. Del Worsham 684 -348
8. MATT HAGAN (1) 681 -351
9. Cruz Pedregon (1) 651 -381
10. Tim Wilkerson 603 -429
11. JACK BECKMAN 581 -451

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