Jack Beckman is back in the Funny Car points lead, but he has some hot pursuers from his own Don Schumacher Racing camp and from Kalitta Motorsports’ JR Todd, the racer he defeated in the U.S. Nationals final round.
And Todd has extra motivation to spoil Beckman’s bid for a second championship after walking away from last week’s U.S. Nationals not exactly happy for his rival.
Todd, who was seeking is third NHRA U.S. Nationals victory in four years, was upset with Beckman’s staging procedure last Sunday. Beckman rolled in deep and lit both staging bulbs on the Christmas Tree—a move called “double-bulbing,” which gave Todd almost no time to get set to launch. Nevertheless, Todd got the jump on Beckman but lost by .0371 of a second, and at the top end, Todd was prepared to jump Beckman physically.
He confronted Beckman, who had dismissed Todd’s anger initially, saying, “That’s drag racing. If he’s upset, he’s upset,” while clutching his Wally statue trophy.
Later Beckman said he simply lit both bulbs by mistake. And with the explanation came a little jab at Todd.
“I just screwed up,” Beckman said. “I went in and lit both bulbs. It is seven inches from pre-stage to stage, so you try to light the pre-stage and let it roll in about four inches. We are still messing around with the push brake on this car, which we just converted to this year, and I just flat screwed up. There is no other way to look at it.
“JR chose to have a tantrum about it. I think that goes to his character. I don’t know why he would have an issue with me making a mistake that could mess me up. He will have to wrestle with his demons on that one,” Beckman said.
Todd told Autoweek he had no comment.
NHRA Mello Yello Series
1. Doug Kalitta, 492; 2. Leah Pruett, 442; 3. Steve Torrence, 432; 4. Justin Ashley, 370; 5. Billy Torrence, 331; 6. Shawn Langdon, 330; 7. Antron Brown, 316; 8. Terry McMillen, 305; 9. Clay Millican, 279; 10. T.J. Zizzo, 179.
1. Jack Beckman, 517; 2. Matt Hagan, 482; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 460; 4. JR Todd, 387; 5. Ron Capps, 376; 6. Bob Tasca III, 355; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 348; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 241; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 234; 10. Paul Lee, 225.
1. Erica Enders, 453; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 446; 3. Jason Line, 442; 4. Matt Hartford, 291; 5. Greg Anderson, 290; 6. (tie) Bo Butner, 249; Chris McGaha, 249; 8. Alex Laughlin, 243; 9. Kenny Delco, 228; 10. Deric Kramer, 197.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Scotty Pollacheck, 251; 2. Andrew Hines, 226; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 225; 4. Matt Smith, 224; 5. Angelle Sampey, 221; 6. Ryan Oehler, 204; 7. Hector Arana Jr, 158; 8. Chris Bostick, 154; 9.Angie Smith, 145; 10. Steve Johnson, 137.
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