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Jul 28, 2014 - 07:00 AM
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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Recap: First Round
Posted by: newsla on Jul 28, 2014 - 06:58 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Recap: First Round

One thing that Jack Beckman and the Valvoline SynPower team are doing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is keeping it interesting.


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Jack, who qualified fourth for Sunday's championship eliminations in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, faced Tim Wilkerson in the opening round of eliminations. The veteran drivers have been trading the 10th and 11th spots in the Funny Car points standings over the past few races.

Unfortunately for Jack and the Valvoline team, Wilkerson will carry the No. 10 ranking into Seattle next week after he upset Jack in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations at Sonoma Raceway near San Francisco.

Only three events remain in the Mello Yello regular season before the top-10 drivers are selected and points reset for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.

At the start of Sunday's eliminations, Jack had a one-point lead over Wilkerson, but the Valvoline SynPower Dodge lost traction in the first round and Wilkerson earned 20 points for the round win moved ahead of Jack in the standings.

The only good news for Jack was that Wilkerson lost in the second round to Jack's DSR teammate Matt Hagan so Jack is only 19 points out of 10th.

"We didn't intend on being this dramatic," Jack said. "The fan in me says that this is just amazing, this is why NHRA instituted the Countdown to add that extra dimension. They are going to make a cutoff after Indy (over Labor Day Weekend) and those 10 cars will be ones eligible to win a championship.

"I just didn't realize we would be fighting for the 10th spot this late in the season. I've never been in this position in my nitro career but, you know what, these are the moments that great things happen from.

"We just need to figure out what we need to do to make this car consistently quick and then go out there and earn it," Jack said. "I can't wait to get to Seattle. I don't want to just get into the top-10. I want to dominate the next three races and maybe move up a couple more slots.

"These folks deserve a trophy in this Valvoline pit so I want to give it to them in Seattle."

Winner: Courtney Force (John Force Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Courtney Force (JFR), 4.045, 319.22

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 4
FIRST ROUND: Tim Wilkerson (4.094, 311.92 mph) def. BECKMAN (4.443, 207.85 mph)
FRIDAY: 4.347 sec., 282.36 mph, (Session 1); 4.075, 314.83, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.353, 228.89, (Session 3); 4.193, 294.75, (Session 4)
(Unofficial after 15 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

driver (wins) pts behind
1. Robert Hight (5) 1,216 ----
2. John Force (2) 1,097 -119
3. RON CAPPS (1) 957 -259
4. Courtney Force (2) 941 -275
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 938 -278
6. Alexis DeJoria (2) 883 -333
7. MATT HAGAN (1) 868 -348
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 840 -376
9. Del Worsham 816 -400
10. Tim Wilkerson 762 -454
11. JACK BECKMAN 743 -473

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