Jack Beckman wanted to leave Las Vegas on Sunday night with an overwhelming points lead in his quest for a first NHRA professional world championship. That didn't happen.
But the driver of the Battery eXtender Powered by Schumacher Electric/Valvoline NextGen Funny Car still will arrive at the season-finale in two weeks at Pomona, Calif., with the points lead.
It will only be four points over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, but a lead is a lead.
"Right now we're four points ahead, but four points is the same as 20 points for winning a round in eliminations so in a sense we're a round ahead right now," Beckman said.
Beckman advanced to the championship round at Las Vegas but his Dodge Charger R/T lost traction and Capps produced a time of 4.070 to record his series-best fifth event title of the year.
"We had an off weekend," Beckman said. "Our car didn't respond to a lot of the changes on Sunday and we still went to the final round."
Beckman received a big break in the semifinals when he faced rookie Courtney Force.
Beckman's Dodge lost traction early then went every which way but straight before coasting across the finish line in 7.278 at 91.44 mph. Although Force's time was 4.119 (312.93) she left the starting line too early and was handed a redlight disqualification.
"That was our lucky win," Beckman said. "My guys must have put a four-leaf clover, horseshoe and whatever other good-luck charm they could find in our Dodge."
Force was the third John Force Racing driver he eliminated on Sunday. He also beat three JFR drivers at the 2009 event near Atlanta.
A big win for Beckman that also benefitted Capps was in the second round when he beat Mike Neff of JFR. Neff started Sunday 48 points behind Beckman and third in points, but Neff fell 88 points out of first place.
"The nice thing is that we went from having a remote chance when we were almost 100 points behind (Capps) to now having as good as chance as anybody to win the championship," Beckman said. "I'm excited to get to Pomona. I think we'll figure out what was ailing our car and Pomona is our kind of race track."
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