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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Northwest Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 12
Posted by: newsla on Aug 03, 2014 - 06:59 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA Northwest Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 12

Jack Beckman had reasons to smile on Saturday at Pacific Raceways near Seattle even if he was disappointed with his car's performance in qualifying.


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Jack is battling to crack the top-10 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing standings with only three events remaining before the field for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff is determined.

He's seeded 12th for Sunday's eliminations in the Northwest NHRA Nationals and faces Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round.

Jack and the Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rob Flynn is ranked 11th in series points and faces a must-win situation against Johnson.

But Jack's efforts to raise money and awareness for the Infinite Hero Foundation Fund that combats the mental and physical issues facing returning military heroes and their families has not been diminished.

Over the past nine Mello Yello events, fans have contributed over $31,000 to Infinite Hero by purchasing "Challenge Coins" for $100 that Jack carries with him in the race car then autographs each. After the first two days of the Northwest Nationals, fans have bought more than 30 coins for $3,000.

The biggest customer at Pacific Raceways this weekend has been Belinda Puckett who donated $1,000 to give one to her husband, Owen, a Vietnam veteran, for their 33rd wedding anniversary and asked Jack to present the others to nine other Vietnam veterans.

"They came up to me on Friday and handed me a stack of $100 bills wrapped up. It was $1,000," Jack said, adding that NHRA event announcer Alan Reinhart explained the offer to Vietnam vets over the public address system.

"No one rushed up for them and I think that's because the pride these Vietnam Vets have seems to prohibit them from expecting something for free. Most of the Vietnam vets who got a coin were here with their sons and the son came up and said their dad was a Vietnam Vet."

One who received a coin was Larry "Stumpy" Hogue, who works on the ESPN production crew after one of his co-workers tipped off Jack.

"One guy said he felt like crying. Others were fans I was chatting with and it came up that they were Vietnam vets and I went and got them a coin.

"One guy said we didn't get anything when we came home and this means so much."

No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.057 sec., 308.07 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 12
FRIDAY: 4.256 sec., 282.48 mph, (Session 1); 4.290, 288.52, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.236, 290.44, (Session 3); 4.156, 297.29, Session (4)
FIRST ROUND: BECKMAN vs. Tommy Johnson Jr.

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