2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Preview
Jack Beckman has raced eight times at the track second closest to his home in Southern California and if ever there were magic in California air the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world champion needs it now.
Jack and his Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T team seemed ready to climb higher than 10th in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, but a quarterfinal loss to Tim Wilkerson enabled the driver known as "Wilk" to move around Beckman for the No. 10 spot in the standings.
Holding no worse than the No. 10 spot in the standings will be critical after the next four events are completed when NHRA determines the 10 teams to compete for the world championship in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.
Jack and the Valvoline team led by crew chief Rob Flynn and assistant Chris Cunningham only trail Wilkerson by three points and are 73 points out of eighth. Each win in eliminations on Sunday pays 20 points.
"In a word, it's just been frustrating," Jack said of the points battle. "I would've bet we would be battling for fifth not tenth. I'm very optimistic that our car will make the Countdown. I just didn't think we'd be doing it in such dramatic fashion."
The Mello Yello Series shifts to Sonoma Raceway where Jack has not visited the winner's circle but won the pole and was runner-up in 2010.
"Sonoma has been an everything track to me," he said. "I've won a Wally (trophy) in sportsman and have raced there a dozen times in the sportsman category. I've run in the 3-second range there in a Funny Car and have been the No. 1 qualifier.
"I've pretty much done everything there but win in a Funny Car and I'd like to change that this weekend."
Jack Beckman, Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Denver (July 20): Qualified No. 11; lost in quarterfinals to Tim Wilkerson
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 2; lost in second round to Courtney Force
Career at Sonoma: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2010); Poles 1 (2010)
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 11th 14 0 1 2 4 7 0 0 11-14
CAREER 194 15 20 37 55 61 10 6 248-173
Best Time, Speed: 3.986 sec. (10-6-12, Reading, Pa.); 320.30 mph (4-15-12, Charlotte 1)
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Official after 14 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) pts behind
1. Robert Hight (5) 1,179 ----
2. John Force (2) 998 -181
3. RON CAPPS (1) 921 -258
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 882 -297
5. Courtney Force (1) 817 -362
6. Alexis DeJoria (2) 811 -368
7. MATT HAGAN (1) 794 -385
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 781 -398
9. Del Worsham 780 -399
10. Tim Wilkerson 711 -468
11. JACK BECKMAN 708 -471
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