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Who’s next? Jack Beckman figures it might as well be him

There have been six different Funny Car winners in the first nine races of the season and Jack Beckman wants to be seventh.
09 Jun 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
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beckman

The first nine races of the 2019 season have produced six different Funny Car winners including Schumacher Racing drivers Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, and most recently, Tommy Johnson Jr. Nothing is a given in drag racing, particularly in nitro racing, but Jack Beckman believes his time in the winner’s circle is coming soon. Beckman already has a runner-up and three-semifinals this year, so he’s not far off. Beckman’s last win came in Brainerd last August.

“We stayed on Monday after Richmond and tested and we learned a lot,” said Beckman. “We brought out a new chassis in Las Vegas and we’ve found that we need to move a little weight around to make it work properly. In Chicago, we made even more changes but we think we’re getting closer to finding the sweet spot. When you test, the car tells you what it likes. It’s up to us to listen.”

Beckman’s Infinite Hero Dodge was hampered by dropped cylinders during qualifying in Topeka and his 4.018-second best was only good for the No. 10 spot in the field. Losing lane choice is bad enough, but Beckman also has a tough draw against teammate Matt Hagan. In Richmond, the duo were in an almost identical spot as the No. 7 and No. 10 qualifiers and Beckman, the slower qualifier, won that round when both cars smoked the tires.

“We dropped holes in qualifying and but the conditions are so much different today so we think that problem will take care of itself,” said Beckman. “Based on what we’ve seen, the track temperature won’t be within 15-degrees of what it was yesterday. It should be even cooler than it was on Friday night when almost everyone made their best runs. Admittedly, this isn’t an ideal spot to be in. I’d much rather have qualified in the top four, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt. We’ve been on the razor’s edge as far as qualifying goes for the last few races.”

Beckman also addressed his surprising exit at last week’s Chicago race. As a former world champ in both Super Comp and Funny Car, he’s got more experience than most when it comes to the starting line which is why it’s difficult to comprehend his early [-.044] red-light in the semifinals against Robert Hight.

“I use a couple of air nozzles in my helmet to keep my glasses from fogging up,” said Beckman. “Lately, I haven’t been wearing my glasses which is fine, but on that run the air nozzle was blowing air right into my eye. I could hardly keep them open. It was a crazy deal, and it shouldn’t have happened but you learn and move on. We’ve got a chance to make a move this weekend and that’s what we’re focused on.”