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2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA U.S. Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 2
Posted by: newsla on Sep 01, 2014 - 07:00 AM
2014 NHRA: Jack Beckman NHRA U.S. Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 2

Jack Beckman has made comebacks before and he's prepared for another one Monday during championship eliminations of the 60th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis.


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Jack has qualified for each of NHRA's Countdown to the Championship playoffs since its inception in 2007. But when racing begins on Labor Day, he is ranked 11th and not among the top-10 drivers to qualify for the Countdown.

Indy ends the regular season and Jack's Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Todd Okuhara qualified second after losing the pole by six-thousandths of a second to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.

On Monday, he could use some help from another teammate.

Jack trails Tim Wilkerson by 10 points for the 10th Countdown berth. DSR's Tommy Johnson Jr. faces Wilkerson in the first round and Johnson would need to win combined with Jack also advancing to the second round. Each round win in eliminations pays 20 points.

Beckman is the last of DSR's seven drivers to earn a chance to win a series championship.

"Pressure is part and parcel of our sport," said Jack, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world champion.

"I didn't get fascinated with drag racing when I was a kid because I said I wanted to feel pressure. It was because I loved the way the nitro cars sounded, smelled and shook the ground. You realize as you grew older and got involved in motorsports that competition is really what draws people to it and the byproduct of competition is pressure."

Okuhara, who also is DSR's director or racing, tuned Jack to a time of 4.004 seconds at 312.13 mph Saturday night for the provisional pole but Hagan opened Sunday during the fourth of five qualifying session with a track-record time of 3.998 seconds (318.99).

The time for the Valvoline team Saturday was its best of the year, and now the team is focused on snapping a streak of not winning a title in the past 44 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events going back to September 2012.

"This team has worked so hard and not won a thing," Jack said. "The big reason we all come out here is that trophy. That says you were the best today. It's eluded us."

Racing fans and friends of DSR helped raise a record $42,058 to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley for Friday afternoon's ninth annual DSR Open House for Riley Kids. The funds push DSR contributions to Riley to over $280,000.


No. 1 Qualifier: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.998 sec., 316.01 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 2
First round: BECKMAN vs. Blake Alexander
FRIDAY: 4.071 sec., 314.90 mph, Session 1
SATURDAY: 4.032, 319.07, Session 2; 4.004, 312.13, Session 3
SUNDAY: 8.325, 77.21, Session 4; 8.269, 77.69, Session 5

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