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Jul 16, 2014 - 06:13 AM
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2014 NHRA: Beckman Starts Western Swing Ready To Scale Points Mountain
Posted by: newsla on Jul 16, 2014 - 06:11 AM
2014 NHRA: Beckman Starts Western Swing Ready To Scale Points Mountain With Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge At MOPAR Mile-High Nationals

Jack Beckman wears his military background proudly and will further display his profound respect for members past and present of the U.S. Armed Forces this weekend at Bandimere Speedway near Denver when his Dodge Charger R/T again carries the colors of the Infinite Hero Foundation.


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He also has a love affair with the immaculate racing facility carved from the side of a mountain in Morrison, Colo., and it goes beyond the amount of precious metal he his mined there by winning NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car titles in 2007 and '12 in three championship round appearances in the past seven years of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

The premier facility operated by the Bandimere family made an impression long before his first visit to the winner's circle.

Jack was in the U.S. Air Force in 1984 stationed about 20 minutes from the racetrack when he attended his first race at Bandimere.

"I was raised on Southern California drag racing so it was so completely different seeing a dragstrip carved into the side of a mountain," he said. "For the next three years while I was still in the Air Force I drove a thousand miles roundtrip to be at the Mile-High Nationals.

"I was so blown away by the facility," recalled Jack, who was 21 when he was honorably discharged from the Air Force as a sergeant.

"I fell in love with the facility. It's a pinch-me moment to go there this week as a two-time winner. I'm close with the Bandimere family and in awe of their outreach programs and relationship with the community."

It's appropriate that Jack and his Infinite Hero Foundation/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T will be racing near a mountain top in the 14th event of the 24-race Mello Yello Series.

Including the Mile-High Nationals this weekend, only five events remain before the top-10 in the standings is finalized to determine drivers eligible to compete for Mello Yello championships in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.

Jack's foothold in pursuit of his second championship in three years is tenuous.

He worked his way into the last provisional spot in the top-10 by advancing to the semifinals two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, and knows he and his team led by crew chief Rob Flynn and assistant Chris Cunningham can't look down and must continue to climb higher.

"I'd call it a good progress weekend," Jack said of qualifying No. 8 at Norwalk with three of four solid qualifying runs. "Obviously we really wanted to win the race and have a chance at getting a Wally (trophy). We made a lot of good runs that weekend.

"Obviously if we're going to run for the championship we have to be in the Countdown. We have to make a move to be solidly in the top-10. We got back in Sunday and now we have to keep it and start moving up.

"I'm very optimistic moving forward. We have a bunch of races in a short period of time."

A long Sunday also would mean considerable exposure on ESPN2's national coverage for the Infinite Hero Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing critical funding to programs that combat mental and physical issues facing returning military heroes and their families

Infinite Hero, with its founding corporate partner Oakley, have combined forces with Don Schumacher Racing and Terry Chandler, who sponsors DSR's Make-A-Wish Funny Car, to raise awareness and funding for the Foundation during the 2014 Mello Yello season.

The 32nd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals kicks off on Thursday from 6-10 p.m. (MDT) with the free-admission 10th annual Mopar Block Party that transforms the quiet streets of downtown Golden, Colo., into a giant Mopar Nation celebration.

A highlight is a Team Mopar autograph session from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. featuring NHRA stars Matt Hagan, Tony Schumacher, Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr., Spencer Massey, Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr.

Displays of Mopar race cars and show cars will line the streets with food and souvenir vendors. Life music will be performed.

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Foundation/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Norwalk, Ohio (July 6): Qualified No. 8; lost in semifinals to Ron Capps
A year ago at Denver: Qualified No. 2; lost in quarterfinals to Robert Hight
Career at Denver: Wins 2 (2012, 2007); Runner-ups 1 (2008); Poles 1 (2012)

Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 10th 13 0 1 2 3 7 0 0 10-13
CAREER 193 15 20 37 54 61 10 6 247-172
Best Time, Speed: 3.986 sec. (10-6-12, Reading, Pa.); 320.30 mph (4-15-12, Charlotte 1)

(Official after 13 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) pts behind
1. Robert Hight (4) 1,067 ----
2. John Force (2) 889 -178
3. RON CAPPS (1) 846 -221
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 845 -222
5. Alexis DeJoria (2) 779 -288
6. Courtney Force (1) 764 -303
7. Del Worsham 748 -319
8. MATT HAGAN (1) 739 -328
9. Cruz Pedregon (1) 726 -341
10. JACK BECKMAN 655 -412

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