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Don Schumacher Funny Cars shine bright in 2020 opener

by Patrick Rall on

The 2020 NHRA season couldn’t have started much better for Don Schumacher Racing’s funny cars, with Jack Beckman driving his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody to the win in the Lucas Oil Winternationals. Fast Jack was the second quickest in qualifying, trailing only Matt Hagan, and Beckman turned in the quickest ET in almost every round of competition en route to his first ever Winternationals victory.

Quick in Qualifying

The Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody funny cars were quick off of the trailer. After the first round of qualifying, Hagan was in the top spot with a 3.867 at 331 miles per hour, followed by Beckman in 2nd with a 3.868 at 326. Tommy Johnson Jr. was 4th with a 3.905 at 327 and Ron Capps sat 13th after a junk first pass.

Those numbers for Hagan, Beckman and Johnson (as well as Robert Hight in 3rd with a 3.885) would carry through to the fourth round, but there were changes in the rest of the order. Most notably, Ron Capps moved up to 8th in the second round and then 6th in the third round, so headed into the final round of qualifying for the Winternationals, there was a Dodge Charger in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th spots.

In the final round of qualifying, the order of the top four didn’t change, but they all turned in better numbers than they had in the early rounds. Hagan ran a 3.841 at 333, Beckman ran a 3.856 at 328 and Johnson turned in a 3.881 at 321. Hight also ran a bit quicker in his Camaro, staying in 3rd place with a 3.862 at 331.

The funny car qualifying order for the 2020 Winternationals is as follows. Don Schumacher Racing team cars are bolded.
01-Matt Hagan-3.841-333.25
02-Jack Beckman-3.856-328.86
03-Robert Hight-3.862-331.45
04-Tommy Johnson Jr-3.881-321.5
05-John Force-3.889-322.04
06-Paul Lee-3.910-332.92
07-Ron Capps-3.911-328.38
08-JR Todd-3.914-327.11
09-Tim Wilkerson-3.918-322.96
10-Bob Tasca III-3.940-324.28
11-Alexis DeJoria-3.950-321.19
12-Bob Bode-3.984-320.89
13-Cruz Pedregon-4.038-320.66
14-Terry Haddock-4.106-301.07
15-Steven Densham-4.361-205.35
16-Alex Miladinovich-4.554-246.71

Elimination Domination

The first round of the 2020 Winternationals went well for the Don Schumacher Racing funny cars, with Hagan, Beckman, Johnson and Capps all advancing to the second round. Tommy Johnson Jr. turned in the quickest ET of the round with a 3.873.

In the second round, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps went head-to-head, with Fast Jack taking the win. Matt Hagan beat Tim Wilkerson while Tommy Johnson Jr. lost to John Force – giving John Force Racing the first round win against Don Schumacher Racing in the 2020 funny car class. Meanwhile, the other Force car, driven by Robert Hight, lost to Alexis DeJoria in the second round. In this second round, Jack Beckman had the fastest ET with a 3.871.

The semifinals saw Matt Hagan square off with John Force while Jack Beckman took on Alexis DeJoria.  Force grabbed a big holeshot advantage and Hagan had troubles, sending the Camaro to the finals with a 3.923. Fast Jack then ran the quickest ET of the round, laying down a 3.843 to beat DeJoria, setting up the first Camaro-V-Charger final round of 2020.

In the finals, Force held the early lead with a slight starting line advantage (.065 to .081), but Fast Jack drove around him to claim the win for Don Schumacher Racing and Team Mopar. In the finals, Beckman ran a 3.837, so he literally saved his best for last, beating Force’s 3.897. You can watch the final race in the video below.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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