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Jack Beckman chasing first win of 2019 at NHRA New England Nationals

Jack Beckman discusses his season so far and what's kept the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team from getting its first win in 2019.
05 Jul 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Feature
Jack Beckman

Jack Beckman reached the final at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk before becoming the latest victim of Bob Tasca III's recent rise to prominence. That marked Beckman's third final and third runner up in 2019. The Infinite Hero team ranks fourth in points and NHRA Power Rankings, nothing to sneeze at midway through the season. With six races to go before points lock before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, Beckman wants to get a Wally in his hands. 

He shared his thoughts on his team's success despite being shut out of the winner's circle ahead of the New England Nationals. The two-time world champion (Funny Car, Super Comp) also talked about his red light in Chicago and the re-found consistency in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. 

The NHRA New England Nationals, now in their seventh year of competition, features racing in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Mountain Motor Pro Stock, Top Fuel Harley and Lucas Oil Sportsman categories. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv or by checking out the NHRA on FOX schedule. 

Full Transcript Follows: 

We're averaging a semi and a final every other race. That's awesome in a nitro funny car because there's always gonna be those weekends where something stupid happens in the first round. I just want a race win right now, you know? 

I don't think there's any question we're gonna make the [NHRA Countdown to the Championship]. I don't … it's not a huge deal where you go into the Countdown because they're not giving the 20 points to the top seed, but you probably want to go in the top five just in case you stumble so you're still in contention. But right now, I just want a race win. I'll take six runner ups in the Countdown if it wins a championship, I just want to bag a race win and it's frustrating especially to be that close and not get it. 

I felt like at the beginning of the year we had a top three car, and then we changed chassis and then we've made two clutch disk changes and that combined with the track prep alterations that NHRA has made… we had a really tough time adapting. I think we were fairly lackluster for several races and I think we're absolutely back up to a top three car and we have the performance to prove it.

There’s a lot of people that say, ‘our car is one of the best cars,’ like, well, but you lost in the first round the last five races. At some point, you ain’t one of the best cars anymore. I think our stats prove my assertion that we are one of the best cars, but we need to win a race. 

At the end of the day, they give a trophy every single race day and your car can go to the finals but it's just not the same for the crew guys. There is something about standing there, getting your pictures taken holding that Wally trophy that enforces to every single member of the team we can do this, and damn this feels good, so I'm gonna do everything I can to get back here again.

I know people speak hyperbolically, you know, ‘our car would have won if A, B and C had happened.’ Well listen, I red lit in the semifinals and Hight spun the tires. We would have won that race. I don't know if we would have beat Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final, but his car blew up. Now, fate may have changed if we were in the other lane and not Hight, but I know we would have at least been in the final.

It is hell as a driver to know that you cost your team a great likelihood of winning a race. I don't want to do that again this year. I think my driving at the beginning of the year was a little bit defensive and I was off slightly. I think I got back into my rhythm. I know what happened at Chicago. I shallow stage all the time, I race smart and I think if you stacked my lights up against the other drivers that shallow stage, I'm right with everybody. 

I know what the deal is. You can get away with a crappy light sometimes. I've just got done watching the race coverage from Norwalk and there was a lot of crappy reaction times that won rounds, but you don't know that. You’ve just got to be on every single time they drag the car up to the starting line.