Jack Beckman was extremely pleased to see his teammate and championship opponent Ron Capps step up in the final qualifying session at the Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. With the threat of rain looming for Saturday, had the final session been rained out, Capps, who got in at No. 16 would have been Beckman’s first round opponent.
Capps pedaled his way into the field with a 5.964 at only 264.60 miles per hour after failing to make the show in either Friday session.
Ominous clouds hovered over the track located outside of Reading, Pa., for much of Saturday morning.
As if divine intervention came about on Don Schumacher Racing and Beckman’s favor, the clouds parted, and the qualifying-challenged NAPA team nailed their first under power run to the finish line with a 4.055 elapsed time.
“I did not want to see us pass them on a DNQ and them struggling, so that was great,” said Beckman. “Now we want to go out and win four rounds and take the lead the hard-fought way. If you ask me, on a scale one through ten about our weekend, this one is an eleven, would be an understatement.”
Beckman didn’t improve on Friday’s 3.989-second pass but ran strong on Saturday with a 4.003 and a 4.011.
“We want to win a championship and some would say they want to win at all costs,” Beckman explained. “I’m not one of those people. I want to win because we did everything right out there and we want the other cars to be at their prime. If we wanted to win at all cost, we’d just go around and steal everyone’s coil wire so their cars wouldn’t start up. We’d like to do it the right way here.
“I think it’s great, plus I like Ron Capps. I like Rahn Tobler, John Collins and the seven mechanics on that NAPA car, they are friends of mine and were with me for three years. I like those guys and to see the looks on their faces when their car lit up the scoreboard with a good run … they know they have a car that can play tomorrow. That’s awesome.”
Prior to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, the team owner made the controversial decision to move the crew from the Beckman-driven team over to the Napa team and vice versa. Beckman’s crew chief Tobler was reassigned to Capps and for a few races tuned both his new and former team. Schumacher later hired Todd Smith to guide the Beckman team.
“Right now we’ve got the best car here,” said Beckman. “We need to convert. We’ve had no problem in qualifying for the last three months. It’s converting that into Sunday round wins that we have to capitalize on.”
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