Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation team return to Maple Grove after big jump in standings following playoff win near St. Louis

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 28, 2016) – After their win last weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team head to the 32nd Dodge NHRA Nationals with their heads held high.

The Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car funded by Terry Chandler left Gateway on Sunday with the event title when Beckman defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round.

The win was the team’s first win since the Chicago in mid-July.

“Coming off a win, subconsciously, everybody walks a little taller and has a little bit more confidence,” Beckman said of his team led by crew chief Jimmy Prock with assistants John Medlen and Chris Cunningham.

This weekend the team returns to Maple Grove Raceway, where they are the reigning event champion after rain wiped out three of four qualifying sessions.

With only one round of qualifying, Beckman entered race day as the No. 3 seed. Throughout the course of race day, Beckman knocked out Alexis DeJoria, Johnson, DSR teammate Ron Capps and Chad Head from competition.

“They’ve moved Reading up a few weeks and I think that’s a wise because last year, we almost lost the entire event because of rain. We only got one qualifying run in. It’s such a crapshoot during first round of eliminations – tons of tire smoke.

“And it’s a good decision to put it before Dallas this year. The weather around Reading this time of year tends to be favorable. I would definitely sacrifice world record conditions to have a higher likelihood of running without rain.”

The weather forecast for this weekend currently looks cooler which could result in big racing numbers for the NHRA teams.

“I’m not the weatherman and all the nitro teams are going to be faced with the same conditions. When we unload, we’ll figure out what the weather has in store for us,” Beckman said.

After their win last weekend, the team jumped from eighth in the standings to third and only 70 points behind leader Capps.
Despite the team’s win last year, Beckman says the team needs to focus on this year’s fight for the Funny Car championship.

“I don’t know if winning last year is going to be any factor because we don’t know if track or weather conditions will be the same. We definitely don’t have the same clutch pack in the car – which has been our Achilles heel most of this year. We’ve been trying to understand what the car wants and hoping it will incorporate with our tune-up changes. I would say we’re cautiously optimistic.

“We still aren’t in a comfort zone like we were this time last yea,r but we’ve got the ability to make the changes we need to be successful.”

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Monday, September 26, 2016

FOX SPORTS: Langdon takes a Wally as Don Schumacher Racing dominates St. Louis

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) took their respective class wins at Sunday's AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis.

For Don Schumacher Racing, it was a huge day as they secured all four spots in the Top Fuel and Funny Car final rounds.

In Top Fuel, it was Shawn Langdon and Tony Schumacher facing off for DSR in the final. The points had already been shaken up after Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Steve Torrence and Brittany Force - the top four in points coming in - all failed to make it to the semis. Tony Schumacher capitalized on the situation, sitting fifth on the points coming in, while Langdon had to hold off Brown, Kalitta and Crampton just to make it to the final. At the end of the day, it was Langdon knocking out yet another top-name competitor as he took his third win of the season.

Likewise in Funny Car, it was an all-DSR final as Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman advanced out of the semis. Of the three points leaders entering - Ron Capps, Del Worsham and John Force - only Capps made it through to the semis, where he was knocked out by Beckman. For Johnson, making the final was a big opportunity as he came in fourth in the points. However, it was Beckman taking the win as Johnson hit trouble down the track in the final, and Beckman moved up to third in the points.

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NHRA.com: Langdon, Beckman, Laughlin, and Savoie collect victories at AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals

September 25, 2016

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Beckman posted a 3.928 at 324.51 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to better Tommy Johnson Jr.’s 4.185 at 231.40 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T during the Funny Car final. Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion, claimed his 24th career victory and second at Gateway Motorsports Park with the performance. The 2015 season runner-up moved to third in the points standings. Beckman beat Dale Creasy Jr., 16-time champion and recent Charlotte winner John Force, and points leader Ron Capps in the earlier rounds.

“Our team was in a slump, and we did what was incredibly difficult with the way our car was acting unpredictably,” said Beckman, who won earlier this year in Chicago. “I’m not quite sure what changed, but I think I had a good outing as a driver today; the guys tuned smart, and we turned on the win light every time.”

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

USA Today: Shawn Langdon, Jack Beckman win NHRA Midwest Nationals

The Associated Press 7:15 p.m. EDT September 25, 2016

MADISON, Ill. (AP) — Shawn Langdon raced to his third Top Fuel victory of the year Sunday in the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Langdon powered to a 3.798-second pass at 323.66 mph to beat eight-time season champion Tony Schumacher for his 14th career victory and first at Gateway. The 2013 season champion moved to fourth in the standings after two events in the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown.

"We didn't really have a dominant car in qualifying, but we just kept picking away at it," said Langdon, also the winner at Bristol, Tennessee, and Norwalk, Ohio. "That's what we've been doing since we got those two victories (earlier this year). The car has just responded well. All in all, this was a great team effort. The whole team did a great job and gave me a great racecar today."

Jack Beckman won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock, and Jerry Savoie in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Beckman had a 3.928 at 324.51 in a Dodge Charger R/T to edge Tommy Johnson Jr. Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car champion, claimed his 24th career victory and second at Gateway. He's third in the standings.

Laughlin sprinted to his first final-round appearance and victory by powering his Chevy Camaro to a 6.611 at 208.68 to outlast Bo Butner. Laughlin failed to qualify for the Countdown.

Savoie raced to first victory of the year with a 6.933 at 189.36 on his Suzuki and against Angelle Sampey. Savoie is fourth in the standings.

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DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero team earn second win of the season, move to third in Countdown after Midwest Nationals at Gateway

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 25, 2016) – Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, brought home the Wally trophy at the fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

This victory is the team’s second win of the season and Beckman’s second win at Gateway Motorsports Park. However, the win on Sunday was not an easy feat.

“When you look back at all your wins, you never look back and say, ‘Well that one wasn’t fun.’ Every one of them is special for one reason or another,” Beckman said.

“This one will go down as, ‘our team is in a slump and we did what was incredibly difficult with the way our car was acting unpredictably.’ ”

The Infinite Hero team, led by Jimmy Prock with assistants John Medlen and Chris Cunningham, have not won an event since their victory in Chicago in July.

In qualifying, the Infinite Hero Foundation team struggled to make passes down the racetrack. Their only clean lap came on Friday night with a 3.907-second pass at 325.22 mph to seed them No. 2.

They faced Dale Creasy Jr. in the opening round of competition on Sunday. Beckman dropped a cylinder but still turned on the win light with a 4.042 at 309.27.

The big match up came in the second round when Beckman rolled up next to John Force. Beckman won the round with a holeshot victory with a 3.978 to Force’s quicker 3.961.

“Beating John Force is always huge,” Beckman said. “To the average fan, they don’t necessarily understand reaction times and ET and how you can manipulate those numbers and a lot of guys do it on race day.

“They just roll the car in deep. And for me, I just want to race smart and try to reserve lane choice for the team. You really have to be up on your toes and leave on time.

“So to leave on a holeshot that way is extra gratifying. And let’s face it, to beat the Babe Ruth of our sport, that’s never a bad thing.”

Beckman then faced his Don Schumacher Racing teammate and current NHRA Mello Yello points leader, Ron Capps in the semifinals.

Beckman ran a 3.954 to send him into the final round where he met another DSR teammate: Tommy Johnson Jr.

Beckman and Johnson’s Dodge Charge R/T Funny Cars are both funded by Chandler, making the two teammates in a very special way.

As the two Funny Cars rolled up, Chandler stood in the center to see both of her teams race for the event title. The final was even more special because next week is her birthday.

In the final round, Beckman made a stellar pass at 3.928 and 324.51 mph as Johnson went into tire smoke.

“I’ve had some pretty mediocre outings as a driver the last few races,” Beckman said. “You want to be there with your driving in case the car is not dead-on and the car saved me a couple of times too.

“The car was smoking the tires and I think my confidence was down. I’m not quite sure what changed but I think I had a good outing as a driver today and I’ve had a few of those that don’t end up in the winner’s circle. The guys tuned smart, I did my job as a driver and we turned on the win light every time.”

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DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge team qualify No. 2 spot for Sunday's eliminations in NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway near St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 24, 2016) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park in the No. 2 qualifying position and look for their second event win of the season.

This weekend, Beckman and the crew struggled during qualifying as they only made one clean pass down the racetrack at the fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
However, the one clean pass was good enough for the No. 2 qualifying position.

"If you look at the Infinite Hero team at the end of qualifying, you'll see that we qualified No. 2 and that doesn't tell the whole story," Beckman said.

"If you look at the details, you'll see we smoked the tires three out of four times and that doesn't tell the whole story."

During the opening round of qualifying on Friday, Beckman went into tire smoke but then during second session, he clocked a 3.907-second pass at 325.22 mph. He also picked up two bonus points in the session as he was second best of the round.

Unfortunately, on Saturday there was more tire smoke for the Infinite Hero Foundation team as they fought to go down the hot, sticky track in summer-like conditions during the first weekend of fall.
Beckman and his crew chief, Jimmy Prock with assistants John Medlen and Chris Cunningham, will face Dale Creasy Jr. on Sunday for the first round of eliminations.

"Qualifying No. 2 gives you a pretty decent first round match-up. We can probably afford to go up there and do a little bit of experimenting but we also need to try and run a mid-3.90," Beckman said.

"We'll run very well when the car responds to all of our changes. With the recent revisions we've made in the bellhousing, we need data. So the fact that we smoked the tires on three of the four runs doesn't mean we're lost. It means we're trying different things and seeing what the car likes there."

Aside from the NHRA event Wally trophy, Beckman and his team are looking to advance in the NHRA Mello Yello points standings as they compete for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

When entering the race weekend, the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team was eighth in points. A good race weekend could place them in a better positon for the NHRA Championship title.

"2012 was the last time I won St. Louis and that year ended for me about as perfect as a year could end for a driver," Beckman said, referring to his 2012 Funny Car world championship.

"At this point, every single round is huge. The cars that are top three and four in points, they're not going out first early. We can't rely on them stumbling. We have to go deep every single race day from here on out."
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation team fight to stay in the hunt for NHRA championship this weekend at NHRA Midwest Nationals

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 21, 2016) - The Infinite Hero Foundation team has some ground to make up this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis at the fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery
Last weekend at the Countdown to the Championship opener, the Carolina Nationals near Charlotte, Beckman and his team suffered a first-round loss to the lower qualified but reigning world champion Del Worsham of Kalitta Motorsports.

After their early loss, they fell from fourth in the points to eighth and will begin racing Friday trailing Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps by 110.

"Right now, I can't say how essential St. Louis would be because I don't have a crystal ball," Beckman said.

"What I can say is the maximum number of rounds you can compete in during the Countdown is 24. We just crossed four of those rounds off the list from Charlotte with zero points. When you got out first round, you can't earn any points for the rest of the day."

"Now for us, there's a maximum of 20 rounds left and each win pays 20 points. John Force already has four round wins after winning the Charlotte trophy. Ron Capps has two round wins. We have none.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery
"We have to create some momentum and show the capabilities ow what this team can do. And for everyone's mental wellbeing, we need to hold another trophy real soon to remind us what we're capable of."

The Infinite Hero Foundation team won their first and only event title earlier this season near Chicago.

"2012 was the last time I won St. Louis and that year ended for me about as perfect as a year could end for a driver," Beckman said, referring to his 2012 Funny Car world championship.

"This time last year, we had won six races, set the record four times and it looked like we were on our way to the championship and things just didn't work out for us. But we still had a wonderful year."

In 2015, Beckman came up short of winning the championship after winning seven event titles.

"Right now, we've won one race, we've reset the national record once this year. It looks like the odds are stacked against us for the championship. But we're only six rounds out of the lead. What we need to do is try to take advantage of as many of those 20 rounds as we can possibly participate in. That really means we have to go the final in St. Louis if we have a realistic shot at winning the title."

For additional information, please visit Don Schumacher Racing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge team experience frustrating day with first-round loss near Charlotte to start Countdown playoff

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2016) – Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, funded by Terry Chandler, left zMAX Dragway near Charlotte frustrated after a first-round loss at the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals.

Beckman lined up against reigning world champion Del Worsham of Kalitta Motorsports in the opening round of Sunday’s championship eliminations after making three solid qualifying passes that seeded them No. 5 position over No. 12 qualifier Worsham.

Beckman and crew chief Jimmy Prock had lane choice over Worsham but their day ended quickly when Beckman went into tire smoke as he slowed to a 4.275-second pass at 220.31 mph to Worsham’s 3.976.

“Frustrating. We struggled first round in Indy and we never really found the smoking gun. Now, we know the cause – it’s a bellhousing issue,” Beckman said.

“You’ve got a series of clutch discs that apply torque as soon as you step on the throttle and when they don’t do it in a predictable manner, you have to change something. We made a change coming into Charlotte.

“It looked pretty decent in qualifying. It was a really a warm racetrack in the first round but we had data from that. Everything we did should have allowed this car to go down the track and run a 3.95.

“Then we went out to 400 feet and knocked the tires loose and now we’ve painted ourselves into a corner. We will make a (clutch) disc change going into the next race – something you really don’t like doing this late in the year. The problem is our consistency. We run good numbers but every once in a while, it’s like Russian Roulette and that bullet comes up and our car does something unpredictable.”

Beckman and the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T team know the importance of round wins during the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. In 2015, they entered the Carolina Nationals as the points leader but because of an first-round loss, the points lead went to Worsham, who went on to win the 2015 Funny Car Championship.

“Here we are in the Countdown and we didn’t just lose first round, we lost the ability to gain points over four rounds of racing.

“It’s a very different sport in drag racing. You can’t go back out there after having a spin out in the first lap and make laps to gain points. You’re finished for the day. We lost 80 points today and we can’t keep spotting those other teams those points when you’re competing for a championship.”

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Infinite Hero Foundation team with Beckman heads south to Charlotte for redemption when Countdown to the Championship begins Friday

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 14, 2016) - Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team, sponsored by Terry Chandler, head into the Countdown to the Championship playoffs seeded fifth in the NHRA Funny Car points standings.

The team, led by crew chief Jimmy Prock with assistants John Medlen and Chris Cunningham, know how crucial this weekend's event at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte is in the hunt for a championship.

In 2015, Beckman entered the NHRA Carolina Nationals as the top seed but lost the lead to Kalitta Motorsports' Del Worsham, who went on to win the NHRA Funny Car championship.

"Relative to Del, when we left Indianapolis last year, we had a 17-round lead over them," Beckman said. "When we left Charlotte, they were leading us in the points.

"That's how important Charlotte can be. Nobody has a crystal ball and you can't look forward to the last race of the year at Pomona and say, 'Oh gosh, if we would have just done this different in Charlotte!' Because of that, I think the importance of every run is pretty obvious to every nitro competitor out there. You don't know how things are going to end up over the course of six races in the Countdown.
"You have to leave Charlotte with a high level of comfort."

Beckman and the team are looking for redemption after an upsetting loss in the first round of eliminations of the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend. The loss led to them dropping from third to fifth in points to start the Countdown.

"Boy, did we struggle in Indy," Beckman said.

"The frustrating thing about what happened in Indy, when we smoked the tires instantly in the first round, is that we didn't find a smoking gun. We know why the car did that, in the general sense. We don't know why the car did that, in a specific sense. We feel like we have a good direction to make it safer, but it's frustrating when you take a tune-up up there that should run a certain performance and it doesn't come close. Those are the ones that leave us scratching our heads.

"The silver lining is, we left Indy 15 rounds out of the lead and now, we're only three rounds behind."

Currently, Beckman sits in fifth in the NHRA points, only 60 points behind his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, the No. 1 seed.

"What we need right now is good execution every time we tow to the starting line - not just elimination runs. Those are worth 20 points apiece but each qualifying run is potentially a three-point gain. We have to treat every single run like it's the final round of the U.S. Nationals.

"We're going to put every effort we can to being the quickest car going down the track and making consistent runs every time we tow up there."

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Monday, September 5, 2016

DSR: Beckman, Infinite Hero team focuses on Countdown to Championship after disappointing early exit from NHRA U.S. Nationals near Indy

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2016) - A year ago, "Fast Jack" Beckman and the Terry Chandler-funded Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team, achieved maybe the biggest accomplishment in the sport of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing by winning the prestigious U.S. Nationals two days after winning the Traxxas Nitro Shootout .

Now, Beckman and his purple-clad team are eyeing an even larger prize when the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello season concludes in Southern California on Nov. 13, a second NHRA Funny Car world championship.

"When we won Chicago early this year, I didn't feel optimal and yet we won the race," Beckman said of his team's only win this season in July. "I keep a log book on the cars performance and my performance. My mental focus wasn't great and we won the race. I got up this morning with every reason to believe we were going to win this race. A great night's sleep, good concentration, great focus until one-and-a-half feet into the run and the car did something that baffled us. We weren't trying to be aggressive. We were trying to race smart. Hopefully that is out of the way so it doesn't bite us in the Countdown."

Beckman's weekend couldn't have started much better Friday evening under the lights at the famed Indianapolis strip. After participating in the 11th annual DSR Open House that raised more than $70,000 for Riley Hospital for Children, Beckman's Jimmy Prock-tuned Dodge clocked the second quickest pass of the weekend at 3.859 seconds to qualify the Infinite Hero team in the No. 2 position.

On the rare Monday race day, Beckman's Infinite Hero flopper barely rotated the tires before losing traction as underdog opponent Dave Richards scored the upset victory against the defending race winner.

Beckman will enter the six-race playoff as the No. 5 seed trailing teammate Ron Capps by 60 points or three rounds of racing. Beckman finishes the 2016 regular season with a mark of 25 round wins, 17 losses, one race win, three runners-up and four No. 1 qualifiers.

"We're going to be optimistic," Beckman said of the Countdown to the Championship. "We've got six races left. We're not going in as a top-two seed and we're going to have to execute flawlessly the next six races and there's no group of people I'd rather surround myself with than this group on the Infinite Hero team. Bad weekend at Indy, but good things ahead for the Infinite Hero car.

"We've been on the other side of this, last year we surrendered an enormous point's lead. This year Capps and the NAPA has to do the same thing. Our goal is to concentrate on round wins. I'm not even concerned with race trophies right now, just round wins."

The six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff begins at zMAX Dragway at Concord, N.C., near Charlotte, on Sept. 16.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery

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