Beckman uninjured in match race incident in nostalgia Funny Car
Friday, April 24, 2009

by Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car driver Jack Beckman, winner last weekend of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, walked away uninjured from a top-end crash in a nostalgia Funny Car in a match race Friday evening at Sacramento Raceway in California.

Beckman, a seven-time national event winner in the Full Throttle Series who drives the Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing, was at the wheel of Lee Jennings' American Revolution Camaro during the track's 28th annual Funny Car Fever event. The car got loose in the left lane, impacted the guardrail several times, then did a slow roll onto its roof.

"The car started to spin a couple of hundred feet out and I pedaled it, but it started to spin again, so I plugged 2nd gear, but it never recovered, so I stepped off," said Beckman, who said he was able to better reconstruct what happened by looking at still images of the incident. "When the tires hooked back up, the car started bouncing and then got up on the left tire, then the right tire, and then the left again, and then turned left at the guardwall at about 50 or 60 degrees and hit the wall at about 1,000 feet. Ninety-nine times out of 100, you can get away with just lifting and this won’t happen, but this time it did. It was just an odd deal.

"When it hit the wall, it broke the drive hub portion of the left rear wheel, and it hit the wall again at the finish line, then dug in and went onto its roof and slid. It spun around one and a half times on its roof before it came to a stop a couple of hundred feet past the finish line. It was surreal. I feel really bad for Lee and the crew because this was a beautiful car. I think I'm going to stick around here tomorrow and start a collection for them to be able to rebuild the car."

The car suffered extensive damage, but Beckman, who was wearing his normal safety equipment including his HANS device, was not injured.

"My left hand feels like I knocked on a door one time with the back of my hand, but that's probably from just holding tight to the steering wheel," said Beckman, who had not previously had a bad crash in his racing career and is expected to compete next weekend at Gateway Int'l Raceway in the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Castrol, the seventh race on the 2009 Full Throttle schedule. Beckman is in second place in the NHRA Full Throttle points.

Beckman, who is one of a number of Professional drivers who likes to compete in off-series events during non-tour weekends, had run as quick as 6.07, 224 in the Jennings car during a March test session at Auto Club Famoso Raceway outside of Bakersfield, Calif.

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