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Beckman keeps Dodge win streak going

by Bill Cawthon on

Jack Beckman kept the Dodge win streak going by capturing the Fuel Funny Car Wally at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals today.

NHRA-2015FourWide-FC-Final-Web

Not only did Beckman bring the Dodge and Don Schumacher Racing tally to four consecutive wins, he broke a 54-race winless streak that went back to St. Louis in 2012 and he made the first-ever sub-four-second pass at the 4-Wide Nationals.

“If there was a track and a format where the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger was perfect for us this was it,” said Beckman. “This new cockpit configuration was perfect for the Four-Wide format where it is difficult to stage. I’m just so elated. Every nitro win I have ever had has been in a Dodge Charger and this is my first in the new Mopar and I don’t think it will be the last this year.”

This is Beckman’s second Four-Wide Nationals title since the format was introduced in 2010 and the 16th Wally of his Funny Car career.

NHRA-20154Wide-Beckman-WebBeckman’s 3.982-second winning pass at 308.78 mph is a career-best time. It’s the fifth time he has run a sub-four-second ET. Today’s three-second pass is the 15th posted by a Dodge Charger, the most by any manufacturer.

With the win, Beckman advances to seventh in the driver standings.

The one-of-a-kind Four-Wide Nationals, held at the purpose-built zMAX Dragway, splits 16 qualifiers into four waves with competitors battling across all four lanes simultaneously. Only the top-two finishers of each wave advance to the next round of eliminations, and with only three heats necessary, the final elimination quad determines the winner, runner-up and two semi-finalists.

Tommy Johnson Jr. made it to the final four but hazed the tires and finished fourth in the group. That was still enough to lift him to fourth in the point standings.

Matt Hagan fouled out in the first heat when he took too long to stage and turned on the red light.

“There are no excuses,” Hagan said. “We had a great racecar, we were the first to the finish line. (Crew Chief) Dickie (Venables) and the guys did a great job. I was just the weak link this weekend. It’s a big lesson learned.”

Ron Capps was disqualified in the same round when his car fishtailed and grazed the wall.

The early disqualifications proved costly as Del Worsham made it to the final round and finished second, putting him at the top of the standings by two points

The first round of Pro Stock eliminations was both exciting and disappointing.

Allen Johnson posted a career-best 6.464 seconds at 214.42 mph, setting a new National record, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start as Greg Anderson and Jonathan Gray pulled off hole shot wins and eliminated Johnson in the first round.

Adding insult to injury, Jason Line beat Johnson’s record time, setting a new national record ET of 6.455 seconds at 214.48 mph.

“We had the record for about one run but I just didn’t do my job as a driver on the line,” said Johnson. “We’re making very big strides with the Dodge Dart right now and that run right there, setting the record, proves it.”

Buddy Perkinson II, in Johnson’s 2012 Dodge Avenger, was quick at the start but fuel problems made him last to the finish line.

The Dodge Dart of V. Gaines made it straight down the track but finished fourth in his first round elimination quad with a 6.626/209.17.

Johnson has now dropped to tenth in the Pro Stock driver standings.

2015 MELLO YELLO NHRA DRIVER STANDINGS
Fuel Funny Car
Rank Driver Points Behind
1 Del Worsham 305 Leader
2 Matt Hagan 303 -2
3 Ron Capps 279 -26
4 Tommy Johnson Jr. 239 -66
5 Robert Hight 230 -75
6 John Hale 224 -81
7 Jack Beckman 208 -97
8 Cruz Pedregon 206 -99
9 Courtney Force 198 -107
10 Alexis DeJoria 193 -112
Pro Stock
Rank Driver Points Behind
1 Jason Line 359 Leader
2 Rodger Brogdon 316 -43
3 Greg Anderson 299 -60
4 Chris McGaha 283 -76
5 Erica Enders-Stevens 268 -91
6 Drew Skillman 266 -93
7 Larry Morgan 234 -125
8 Shane Gray 199 -160
9 Vincent Nobile 193 -166
10 Allen Johnson 176 -183
13 V Gaines 125 -234

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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