First Round Loss Costly For Beckman, Onfinite Hero Dodge Team
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - It might have been a lost opportunity, but it wasn't a lost weekend for Jack Beckman at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals near Denver.
Beckman was disappointed he was sidelined in the opening round of eliminations Sunday to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps by a narrow margin. Beckman and the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team started the day ranked second to Capps in Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points and trailed by 126.
It was the scenario he and crew chief Jimmy Prock wanted, a chance to take a big chunk out of Capps' lead but Beckman came up short with a 4.078-second run to Capps' 4.047. Capps lost in the next round and extended the margin over Beckman to 144. Courtney Force advanced to the final round and moved around Beckman in the standings.
"That was a big one for us," said Beckman, who had won the previous event near Chicago. "We got our early round match-up with (Capps) and we lost. That's huge. It was a bitter disappointment; those are the ones that feel like a punch in the gut. You have a scenario line up for you, and we did. And you have to capitalize, and we didn't.
"In this sport, you have to be good enough. Sometimes you don't even have to be good, you have to be good enough. And we weren't good enough."
But that was in the mile-high altitude of Denver and this weekend Beckman gets back to sea level and a chance to defend the event title he won a year ago at Sonoma Raceway near San Francisco. He also won the pole for that race.
The Denver weekend, however, is one of Beckman's most memorable.
The Infinite Hero Fund, which provides grants to assist veterans who return from war with physical or psychological injuries, hosted three American heroes: J.R. Martinez and identical twins Morgan and Marcus Luttrell, each of whom are retired Navy SEALs. It was only a few days after Marcus, author of the book "Lone Survivor" that recounts his harrowing experience during a 2005 military operation in Afghanistan, shared an inspirational message to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
"I got to hang out with J.R. when we did the Mopar autograph signing together," said Beckman, whose Infinite Hero team is funded by Terry Chandler.
"It's interesting to see people and the way they deal with life-changing events. That guy is so inspirational.
"And then I'm strapped in to our racecar towing up to the starting line and the Luttrell brothers point into me and give the thumbs up.
"And I think, OK, this is as close to combat as we're going to get in the civilian sector - strapped into a nitro Funny Car going out there to do battle on the track. But those are guys who have REALLY gone into combat on a regular basis."
JACK BECKMAN: Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Denver, July 22-24: Qualified No. 6, lost in first round to Ron Capps
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Tommy Johnson Jr.
Career at Sonoma: Wins 1; Runner-ups 1 (2010); Poles 2 (2010)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 3rd 14 1 3 2 5 3 4 0 22-13
CAREER 242 23 25 43 68 76 19 7 319-212
Best Time, Speed: 3.866 sec. (2016, Topeka); 332.59 mph (2016, Topeka)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. RON CAPPS (4) 1,120 -----
2. Courtney Force (1) 998 -122
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 976 -144
4. MATT HAGAN (2) 881 -239
5. Robert Hight (1) 877 -243
5. Del Worsham 877 -243
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 855 -265
8. John Force (1) 821 -299
9. Tim Wilkerson (2) 793 -327
10. Alexis DeJoria (1) 733 -387