Beckman, Infinite Hero team face double challenge of ending
non-winning streak in Mello Yello Series and at Route 66
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T team have had an impressive season in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series as it heads this weekend to the Route 66 Nationals near Chicago.
But the only way it can be described as being remarkable is that the team led by crew chief Jimmy Prock and funded by Terry Chandler is ranked third in points at the midway point of the 24-race season despite not having won a Mello Yello trophy.
"We're starting to feel a sense of urgency because we're at the halfway point of the season and we haven't won a race," Beckman said. "We realize a lot of things don't happen overnight and we will stay the course but we want to hold our first trophy of the year sooner rather than later."
That's about the only goal the Don Schumacher Racing team hasn't checked off its to-do list.
Beckman has four No. 1 qualifying honors, been runner-up three times and set several track records.
His team not only hasn't won this year but their last visit to a winner's circle was last September near St. Louis - a span of 18 races. Before that, the Infinite Hero Dodge had won seven of the first 18 races along with five poles in 2015 when it finished second in points.
"I hope this is the weekend we get to hold the trophy. And then I want to follow that with another winning weekend and another one after that.
"I don't know if we're out of the woods yet. Our team tested at Indy a couple days after the last race at Norwalk (Ohio) with (DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. driving). It wasn't a real conclusive test, but we're getting it closer to making it like the car we had last year.
"We don't have the car like we want yet, but we haven't lost a lot of ground to the points leader so it's still within sight. Hopefully we can get the tune-up back to our standards and reel everybody in."
The Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car would seem to be in good position to be among the 10 teams to qualify to compete for an NHRA Funny Car world championship in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff that closes the Mello Yello season.
Beckman also has had a drought at Route 66.
"It's a track where we've never won a trophy in a Funny Car or my Super Comp dragster," said the 2012 Funny Car and 2003 Super Comp Sportsman world champion. "I got as far as the final round of the Jeg's All-Stars (in Super Comp) at Route 66, but I've never been able to close the deal there."
Nothing would be more pleasing to Beckman than to able to slam the door closed on the chapter.
JACK BECKMAN: Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Norwalk, Ohio, June 24-26: Qualified No. 5, lost in first round to Alexis DeJoria
A year ago at Chicago: Qualified No. 12, lost in second round to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Career at Chicago: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0