Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation team continue to develop in NHRA Gatornationals as team shifts focus to race in Las Vegas


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, continue to gain data by advancing to the quarterfinals of the 48th annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

"It's upsetting to not win, but we're philosophical," Beckman said. "They're 10,000-horsepower racecars and hard to harness, and we have a bunch more races coming up. I think that the more data you give a team like us, the more we are going to excel, simply because we are newer than most of the teams."

The Gatornationals is the third event for the newly assembled Infinite Hero Foundation team led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh.

"We've changed more stuff probably then the average team, so every run we make, proportionally, we're getting a bigger percentage of data."

Beckman entered race day as the No. 8 qualifying Funny Car with a pass of 3.883 seconds at 330.23 mph.

He lined up against Tim Wilkerson for the first round on Sunday and clocked a winning time of 3.899 (329.83).

During the second round, Beckman went into tire smoke against eventual event winner John Force and slowed to a 8.835 (82.48).

"That was one of those odd rounds where so many cars smoked the tires that you start thinking there's a track issue," said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champ. "But here's the thing, we aren't going to make any excuses. Our job is to figure out how to make our way down the racetrack, no matter what the conditions.

"Trust me when I tell you we will pick away at this data, and figure out if we get in this situation again, what we would do differently to make sure we make a good race out of it."

The NHRA circuit travels to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speed in two weeks for the fourth event of the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing series season.


FUNNY CAR
Event winner: John Force (John Force Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing), 3.832 sec.-track record, 333.25 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
Qualified: No. 8
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: BECKMAN (3.899, 329.83) def. Tim Wilkerson (3.906, 327.66)
Second round: John Force (3.916, 328.14) def. BECKMAN (8.835, 82.48)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.883 sec., 321.27 mph, (Session 1); 10.014, 74.13, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.382, 205.66, (Session 3); 3.897, 330.23, (Session 4)

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Gainesville, Fla.; 3 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
Funny Car
                                                 
1. MATT HAGAN (2)           308          -----
2. John Force (1)                  238         -70
3. RON CAPPS                     235        -73
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR.   209         -99
5. Courtney Force                177        -131
6. Robert Hight                    150        -158
7. Jim Campbell                  148        -160
8. JACK BECKMAN           144        -164
9. J.R. Todd                         138        -170 
10. Tim Wilkerson                117        -191


About Infinite Hero Foundation

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 298 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
 
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge ready to race after strong run during Gatornationals qualifying



GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, enter the final day of the 48th annual NHRA Gatornationals ready to post their first win of the year.

"We had the luxury of trying some new things in the bellhousing this weekend," said Beckman, who qualified No. 8 with a final run of 3.883 seconds at 321.27 mph. "When you unload out of the trailer and make a good qualifying run, you know you're set. That should keep you in the top half."

Beckman and the team, led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh made two qualifying passes in the 3.80-second range; their first on Friday and last on Saturday.

During the first qualifying session, Beckman made a pass of 3.883 and closed with the 3.897.

"We actually cycled some new clutch disks in and it's a strategic move. We'll give up a couple of potential qualifying positions here to get that data for when we need to incorporate new disks throughout the year.

"With the six-disk clutch pack, you're going to run out of a certain amount of those by the time the season gets to the end. We want to get ahead of the game. It's a nice deal to be able to test with those.

"We closed qualifying with another 3.80 run. The guys already have a pretty decent handle on what will eventually be our disk package."

Beckman will face Tim Wilkerson in the opening round of competition on Sunday.


QUALIFYING RESULTS FROM THE GATORNATIONALS

FUNNY CAR
No. 1 qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing), 3.832 sec.-track record, 333.25 mph
 
JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T

Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
Qualified: No. 8
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: Tim Wilkerson
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.883 sec., 321.27 mph, (Session 1); 10.014, 74.13, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.382, 205.66, (Session 3); 3.897, 330.23, (Session 4)

###

About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 297 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.

Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

DSR's Infinite Hero team, Beckman travel to Gainesville this weekend seeking redemption at NHRA Gatornationals


BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 14, 2017) - The Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team sponsored by Terry Chandler and piloted by Jack Beckman, travels south to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend for the 48th annual Gatornationals.

Gainesville marks the third event of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. Two weeks ago, in Phoenix, the Infinite Hero Foundation team had a parts issue during the opening round of competition on Sunday.

"I'm a southern California guy and I've always thought Gainesville was the closest thing there is to Pomona (Calif.) that's not Pomona," Beckman said. "It's big. It's packed. It's the season opener for the folks out on the East Coast and it has a lot of prestige that goes with it.

"We had a parts issue (in Phoenix). The silver lining in that cloud is that it didn't happen during the run. If this thing had thrown the clutch out at halftrack, it could have gotten really expensive and could have gotten risky. And it didn't happen during the Countdown (to the Championship).

"There's no such thing as a good loss, but I think everybody is realistic about this and keeping correct perspective that this was a very minor setback for a very good team."

Despite their setback at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix, Beckman remains positive in the team led by crew chiefs John Medlen, Dean Antonelli and Neal Strausbaugh.

"I still think we're probably still ahead of some people's expectations. We lost to a 3.89 in Pomona. Then we go out there and throw the clutch out of the car in Phoenix. It is not a maintenance issue. It was not a tune-up issue. It was a parts issue and we've rectified that so we'll just move on."

Last year in Gainesville, Beckman entered race day as the No. 1 qualifier with a time of 3.879 seconds at 329.26 mph. He advanced to the semifinals before being defeated by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

JACK BECKMAN: Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Feb. 24-26 at Phoenix): Qualified No. 6, broke in first round against Gary Densham
2016 at Gainesville: Qualified No. 1, lost in semifinals to Ron Capps
Career at Gainesville: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1

FULL ARTICLE

Sunday, February 26, 2017

DSR: Bad break for Beckman, Infinite Hero team might have been blessing despite first-round loss in NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass


CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2017) - A bad break on Sunday afternoon for Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car funded by Terry Chandler might have been one of the best breaks of his career.

Beckman qualified sixth for Sunday's eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix but barely got past the starting line in the first round of eliminations after his pre-race burnout when he felt something wrong with his Don Schumacher Racing racecar.

Beckman sensed something was wrong moments after he hit the throttle to warm his tires.

"In the middle of the burnout the motor tugged a down for a split second," he said. "At the end of the burnout, I heard a scraping sound, a metallic sound. I didn't know if some of the metal under the body was rubbing on something and thought maybe if we lifted the body we could bend it back so we could run. Then I felt a big vibration and knew it wasn't going to get better so I pulled over and shut it off.

"When we got back to the pit and saw all the carnage inside the bellhousing it was obvious this car wasn't going anywhere. It's a long season and there's no point in tearing your stuff up this early in the year.

"It threw the clutch out at 6,000 rpm without any load on the engine and put a chunk in the bellhousing. If that happened at 8,000 rpm at the top end of the racetrack the damage could have been devastating.

"And by the way, I have a leg on either side of that bellhousing."

The breakage likely kept Beckman from advancing to the second round. His opponent Gary Densham smoked the tires early and slowed to a time of 5.715 seconds at 106.55 mph.

"I'm not a 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' guy," Beckman said. "It was the right decision and you live with it. Losing sucks when you have a car as good as ours."

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery

FUNNY CAR
EVENT WINNER: Matt Hagan/Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 QUALIFIER: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.837 sec.-career best, 329.10 mph

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
Qualified: No. 5
First round: Gary Densham (6.715 sec., 206.55 mph) def. BECKMAN (broke on burnout)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.873 sec., 329.18 mph, (Session 1); 5.187, 140.52, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.869, 328.46, (Session 3); 3.881, 322.11, (Session 4)

About Infinite Hero Foundation

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.
 

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.


DSR has won 295 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.     

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeff Wolf (wolfj@shoeracing.com), 702.524.1368
Leah Vaughn (vaughnl@shoeracing.com), 618.516.1988

Saturday, February 25, 2017

DSR: Beckman enters race day as No. 6 qualifier in Infinite Hero Dodge as consistency continues to build in DSR Dodge Charger R/T


CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, had a consistent race car throughout qualifying and they hope to carry that momentum into Sunday's eliminations.

"On half of our runs we got bonus points that means we were one of the three best in two sessions. That's a great feeling," Beckman said. "The nice thing is, the one run we didn't make it, I love what happened.

"The car responded to every change and we were slightly too aggressive. But without knowing where the edge is you don't really know how far to push it."

His best pass of the weekend was on Saturday with a 3.869-second run at 328.46 mph.

"Those are always runs that on the racetrack to the fans it might look like you missed it, but back here in the trailer when you download the data you say okay that's the one that will help us win the race on Sunday.

"The car responded to every change and we were slightly too aggressive. But without knowing where the edge is you don't really know how far to push it."

On Friday, Beckman opened qualifying with a pass of 3.873 at 329.18 mph. Then during the second session, he went into tire shake and coasted to a 5.187 lap at 140.52 mph.

Then on Saturday, he ran a 3.869 pass at 328.46 mph, his best lap of the weekend. Finally, he made a pass of 3.881-seconds at 322.11. He will enter race day as No. 6 qualifier and will face Gary Densham for the opening round of competition on Sunday.

"Those are always runs that on the racetrack to the fans it might look like you missed it, but back here in the trailer when you download the data you say okay that's the one that will help us win the race on Sunday."

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
First round opponent: Gary Densham
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.873 sec., 329.18 mph, (Session 1); 5.187, 140.52, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.869, 328.46, (Session 3); 3.881, 322.11, (Session 4)


About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 295 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.


FULL ARTICLE


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DSR: Beckman wants past success at Wild Horse Pass near Phoenix to continue in desert when Infinite Hero Dodge races this weekend


BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 22, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team didn't have time to waste on Super Bowl Sunday by watching all the pre-game hoopla.

They extended their preseason testing to that Sunday as Super Bowl parties weren't in their plans until work was done at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.

Beckman expects that effort to translate into good results this weekend when the Don Schumacher Racing 2017 Dodge Charger R/T funded by Terry Chandler returns to the track for this weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

"This will be the first time our new tuning trio get to go back to a track where they have worked together on our Infinite Hero Dodge," said Beckman, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car champion. "They'll have a lot of data from testing. We have a lot of new things this season and we want to get back to our winning ways."

Joining returning co-crew chief John Medlen to make up the triumvirate are veteran Dean Antonelli and Neal Strausbaugh, formerly the assistant crew chief on DSR's U.S. Army championship team. Additionally, the crew is new except for returning car chief Matt Archer.

"Three weeks ago at Phoenix we made 12 test runs and that gives us a comfort zone going back," Beckman said. "We even stayed over on Super Bowl Sunday to make a couple more laps just because of all the personnel and clutch changes that have been made. They wanted a greater level of confidence after testing.

"Phoenix has been very good to me. I've won there three times (2008, 2010, 2011) and that's as many times that I've won at any track. For whatever reason, I'm prolific at some tracks and can't win at others. But that's completely random."

Ten days ago at the opener in Pomona, Calif., Beckman qualified fifth before losing in the second round to teammate and eventual event winner Matt Hagan in what was one of the best races of the weekend. Beckman's impressive 3.893-second run at 328.30 mph was edged by Hagan's 3.882 (329.18).

"That level of performance will continue with our new team," Beckman said. "We had a successful maiden voyage at Pomona and our Infinite Hero team will hit its stride soon."
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery
JACK BECKMAN: Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Feb. 9-12 at Pomona): Qualified No. 8, lost in second round to event winner Matt Hagan of DSR
2016 Phoenix: Qualified No. 6, lost in second round to John Force
Career at Phoenix: Wins 3 (2010-11, 2008); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0


About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 295 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.



FULL ARTICLE

Sunday, February 12, 2017

DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero team remain confident in their Dodge Funny Car as they head to second race

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, came to the Winternationals as a newly assembled group ready to bring home their first victory as a team.

Unfortunately, they will have to try again for their first win in Phoenix.

"I'm not the first one of the DSR Funny Car squad to say the cars we fear the most in the other lane are the other Dodges," Beckman said. "We know what parts and aerodynamics they have. I tell you what's very satisfying out here, this is a team sport."

Beckman was referring to his second round lost against Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Matt Hagan who later won the event.

"You've got 11 guys on a team, all working for a singular goal. But we can also go next door. When I needed another parachute, I went over to our Mopar teammate's car and they helped us out. And we had to race them the next round. You always say, 'from burnout to turnout there are no teammates,' it's every team for themselves."

In the first round of competition, Beckman ran a 3.867-second lap at 330.63 mph to give him the win over Cruz Pedregon. Then in round two, Beckman lined up against Hagan. Beckman ran a 3.893-second lap (323.30 mph) but Hagan was quicker with his 3.885.

"It's nice to know that when the fans are making betting odds on who they think will win a Mopar is always going to be near the top of the heap."

Beckman and the Infinite Hero team will have a weekend off before heading to the NHRA Arizona Nationals for the second event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery

Event winner:
No. 1 qualifier: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.822 sec., 335.57 mph (both match Hagan's national records set in 2016)

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
First round: BECKMAN (3.867 sec., 330.63 mph) def. Cruz Pedregon (13.004, 67.39)
Second round: Matt Hagan (3.882, 329.18) def. BECKMAN (3.893, 328.30)
Qualified: No. 8
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 4.153 sec., 295.14 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 5.937, 123.42, (Session 3); 3.853, 327.43, (Session 4)


About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.

About Don Schumacher Racing

Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 295 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeff Wolf (wolfj@shoeracing.com), 702.524.1368
Leah Vaughn (vaughnl@shoeracing.com), 618.516.1988

Saturday, February 11, 2017

DSR: Beckman, new Infinite Hero Foundation crew chiefs, team start 2017 with confidence, patience at NHRA Winternationals

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2017) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, funded by Terry Chandler, enter the first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series with a new team but the same goal.

"I'm confident - and I truly am - and I'm not just saying that!" said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car champion. "I think every driver should think that, but I have every reason to believe that.

"There's a lot of fire power on this team. Nobody is a newbie on the team, it's just the first time we've worked together as a group."

The team is definitely new, starting with the crew chiefs. Don Schumacher Racing veteran assistant Neal Strausbaugh joined the team after serving on the U.S. Army Top Fuel team for several years. Strausbaugh is joined by DSR newcomer Dean Antonelli. John Medlen is one of only two holdovers from last year's team.

Aside from the trio of crew chiefs, there are several new faces on the crew as well, the majority of which came onboard from within DSR from varies teams.

"Remember, this is a bunch of dragster guys. We shortened the car up, put the motor on the other side of the driver and slapped a body on it and I think they're doing a fantastic job of getting up to speed with the adjustment," Beckman said.

During the first round of qualifying, Beckman had to pedal his Funny Car and coasted to a 4.1.53-second lap at 295.14 mph. Later Friday night, rain cancelled the second session for most teams.

On Saturday, Beckman ran into problems again and his car quit before the finish line, resulting in a 5.937 (123.42). Finally, during the final qualifying session, Beckman clocked a 3.894 at 333.99 mph to earn the No. 8 seed and will race former world champion Cruz Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations.

"That 3.89 was far from a perfect run," Beckman said. "The speed showed some potential. We actually softened (the tune-up) up but it was a little weak on ET (elapsed time).

"We tested well a week ago, we had a lot of good time slips from that. But they don't count. They're not for points, they're not for a trophy, they're not during a race."
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery
JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
First round opponent: Cruz Pedregon
Qualified: No. 8
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 4.153 sec., 295.14 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 5.937, 123.42, (Session 3); 3.853, 327.43, (Session 4)

About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues - mental and physical - facing returning military heroes and their families.  The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries.  For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.
 
About Don Schumacher Racing

Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown; the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 293 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeff Wolf (wolfj@shoeracing.com), 702.524.1368
Leah Vaughn (vaughnl@shoeracing.com), 618.516.1988

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New crew chiefs, crew doesn't slow Beckman during testing, expectations high for Chandler's Infinite Hero Dodge at DSR



BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 7, 2017) - Jack Beckman walked into his pit area to start testing last week and had a lot to learn, mainly the names of his Don Schumacher Racing crew.

He knew he was in the right place when he saw that Terry Chandler's purple Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car was still the center of attention but the only returning crewmen working on it from last year's team in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season were John Medlen and Matt Archer.

Once he began wheeling the sleek Charger funded by Chandler down the track he also realized his new group led by crew chiefs Medlen, Dean Antonelli and Neal Strausbaugh had provided the 2012 Funny Car world champion with something he has become very familiar with at DSR: high performance.

"We had a fantastic test session last weekend," Beckman said of three runs in the 3.8-second range along with four in the 3.90s and a 4.03 that he shut off at halftrack at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.

"It exceeded all of our expectations. I'm pleased as punch. Honest to goodness I can't wait for the season to get started."
The resident of Norco, Calif., knows when he makes the short drive from his home to Pomona Friday to open the 2017 Mello Yello season with the NHRA Winternationals that his team is still growing together.

"What impressed me at testing was how well our three crew chiefs bounce things off each other, how the crew continually got more efficient after each run and how, overall, we had one of the best test sessions of any team there."

Change isn't new to Beckman. He lost his entire team after the fourth race of the 2012 season and that worked out well as he went on to win the championship that year.

Beckman is coming off a season that featured two event titles in five final rounds along with six poles and holding NHRA track records for elapsed time (four tracks) and speed (six). The best run of his career was three months ago at Pomona in the season-finale when he recorded a time of 3.825 seconds, which is the second quickest Funny Car run ever. His best speed of 334.15 mph was set last summer near Seattle.

He's seeking his first win at Pomona but has been the No. 1 qualifier at the last two races at the legendary track near Los Angeles.

"The best development in the off-season is that Terry Chandler and the Infinite Hero Foundation has stayed with us," said Beckman, a former U.S. Air Force sergeant. "They recognize the importance of our campaign with Infinite Hero on the side of our car. We're making a difference for injured vets."

FULL ARTICLE

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Competition Plus: BECKMAN EXCITED ABOUT HIS CREW CHIEF TRIO

When Don Schumacher Racing announced its crew chief trio that will serve as the tuners for Terry Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger nitro Funny Car in 2017 it turned some heads.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman, the driver of the Funny Car, for one is thrilled to have the threesome – John Medlen, Dean Antonelli and Neal Strausbaugh – calling the shots for him.

“I think Medlen is absolutely the cornerstone of the team, and I think that guy is the cornerstone of any team because of his character, and his demeanor, he’s the guy you look to when you are having a bad day,” said Beckman, who won the 2012 nitro Funny Car world championship driving for DSR. “He brings such high class and rock solid morals and character that I think he’s a perfect nucleus to build the team around. I have not ever worked with Dean Antonelli and there’s a guy who spent 22 years at John Force Racing and that in of itself tells you a lot about him. Clearly, he’s dedicated, motivated and loyal. The only constant in life is things change and I’m so pleased he’s decided to make this change. He was very successful the last time he was a Funny Car crew chief on Ashley (Force’s) car. He and (Medlen) have worked together before and I think they have some similar personality traits, they both are very low profile, always deep in thought and I can’t wait to see what Dean’s going to bring to our team.”

Beckman acknowledged Strausbaugh coming onboard was a surprise to him.

“I didn’t see that one coming, and I like Neal,” he said. “We have been teammates under the DSR umbrella, but we’ve never been teammates wearing the same shirt at the races, but I think there is the guy who is going to add an interesting dynamic to our team. Here’s a Top Fuel guy who has been in the crew chief lounge for years, helping make calls on the Army car. The Funny Car isn’t a Top Fuel car, but I firmly believe that having a slightly different perspective on this coming from Neal is going to make us a better car.”

John Medlen
Medlen will begin his third season in 2017 working on Beckman’s Funny Car. This will be the 10th season for Strausbaugh at DSR and Antonelli’s first.

Antonelli was the general manager at John Force Racing the past two seasons after being a crew chief and assistant crew chief at that company where he spent 12 years working under Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly. Antonelli was an assistant crew chief on four world championship Funny Car teams.

Beckman’s first opportunity to work in action with his co-crew chiefs will be at the test session at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Ariz., the week before NHRA’s season-opening Winternationals Feb. 9-12 in Pomona, Calif.

“Our plan will be to do the three-day test (in Phoenix) and I think will probably drag our (NHRA) Finals combo there, which includes the 6-disc clutch, which we put in for Vegas and Pomona,” Beckman said. “Now, we are also going to do some things that we think are going to make it more predictable. At Pomona (the 2016 season-ending race in November), we made seven runs and on four of them our car hauled, and on three of them, it didn’t make it 10 feet. You can’t race like that. We’re going to have to find something that makes this car much more stable the first 50 feet of the run. I think that’s going to be our biggest target for the first four or five races, to get this thing to launch consistently well because I think once it gets to 50 feet, it’s just going to fly. I will sacrifice some ultimate performance to have more predictability out of the car. We ought to be able to make 12 runs at Phoenix and get a good beat on the car and you throw in another four qualifying runs at Pomona, assuming the weather cooperates, and we ought be able to have 16 runs under our belt.”

Those runs will be critical since Beckman pointed out only he, Medlen and Matthew Archer, who was a mechanic on the car last season, are the only three people returning to the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge from 2016.

“There will be seven people who didn’t work on the Infinite Hero car last year,” Beckman said. “I think that those three test days in Phoenix are going to be really important for getting this new team working in a coordinated effort, and also be really essential for us getting some sort of baseline to drag to Pomona.”

Despite the wholesale changes to his team Beckman is brimming with optimism about the upcoming season.

“I can’t wait to start this year,” he said. “You have no idea how thrilled I am that Medlen is back because Infinite Hero is doing some pretty special stuff. As a drag racer, you want to go out and win races and you just want to destroy everybody on the race track, but with Infinite Hero we get to do a lot of things for some people who are beyond deserving when the car is not running. To have John back as a crew chief is awesome, but to have John back as a representative of the Infinte Hero race team is going to be amazing and I think (Dean) and Neal will fit into that role fantastically as well.”

 Written by Tracy Renck    Wed, 2016-12-28 18:00