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Beckman triumphs in sixth all-Dodge finals

by Bill Cawthon on

Jack Beckman’s winless streak ended Sunday as he made a clean pass to defeat points leader Ron Capps in the Funny Car final round at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Illinois.

NHRA-Rte66-Finals-Web

Capps had a slightly quicker start and the lead until the 60-foot marker. Then the rear end of the NAPA Dodge Charger broke loose and by 400 feet down the track, the tires were smoking. Beckman crossed the finish line .5618 seconds (about 100 feet) ahead of Capps to collect the Wally and move into second place in the point standings.

Until Sunday, Beckman was the only Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver without a win. So, far DSR Dodge drivers have collected eight of the thirteen trophies awarded this season. Capps has accounted for four of those wins; Matt Hagan has a pair of victories and Tommy Johnson Jr. and Beckman each have one.

Hagan moved into fourth place in the points race with a strong qualifying performance and getting to the semi-finals. He went up in smoke almost immediately in his matchup with Capps. Hagan eliminated Johnson in the quarterfinals. Johnson is now in fifth place.

Alan Prusiensky did manage to qualify in his new Dodge Dart but had troubles in his opening Pro Stock race against Shane Gray. He got to the starting line but then jumped the gun and turned on the red light. The Arc Race Engine Dart definitely will get some tweaks before its next outing.

Allen Johnson, the top Dodge driver in the Pro Stock standings, qualified fifth in the order and beat Kenny Delco’s Camaro in the opening round, but fell to Greg Anderson in the quarterfinals. Anderson went on to win the event and his sixth Wally. Allen Johnson remained fourth in the points, thirty points ahead of former Dodge driver Chris McGaha.

Jeg Coughlin also made it to the quarterfinals after beating Drew Skillman in the opener. He was up against points leader Jason Line in the second round. Line got a quicker start and never trailed. Coughlin dropped from eighth to ninth in the standings.

Two-time champion Erica Enders had a new major sponsor for the Route 66 Nationals but It didn’t help. She got a quicker start than Vincent Nobile in the first Pro Stock race of the day but Nobile was ahead by 100 feet out and turned on the win light. Enders is now eight points out of the top ten with five events left to make it into the Countdown to the Championship.

The NHRA takes a one-week break. On July 22, it begins the Western Swing with the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado.

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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