DSR Gainesville Post Race Recap (1 Viewer)


DSR Gainesville Post Race Recap

NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018
DSR Gainesville Race Day Highlights:

  • Jack Beckman wins the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals (Funny Car)
  • Beckman becomes the third consecutive Funny Car driver to win from the No. 1 spot
  • Beckman recorded his first career win at Gainesville Raceway
  • Beckman's win was DSR's 320th national event victory
  • All DSR Funny Car final round (Jack Beckman vs. Matt Hagan)
  • Hagan retained the Funny Car points lead

Jack Beckman Wins the NHRA Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Florida (March 18, 2018) – Jack Beckman got to cross an item off of his bucket list on Sunday afternoon - winning the NHRA Gatornationals. Entering the weekend, the drag racing veteran had 26 Funny Car event wins to his credit, but none of them were from historic Gainesville Raceway.

After making four solid qualifying runs, and setting off four win lights on Sunday, Beckman can officially add ‘winning the Gatornationals’ to his impressive resume.

“The Gatornationals came on the schedule in 1970 when NHRA went from four races to seven. That was the super season, the first year they crowned a Funny Car champion. 1970 was a big year for our sport, and [the Gatornationals have] been at this track ever since then, and I’ve never gotten close. It was such a bucket list thing,” said Beckman, who started race day from the No. 1 spot, making him the third consecutive Funny Car driver to win from the top seed.

Along his way to the Winner’s Circle, Beckman defeated Jim Campbell, Del Worsham and Shawn Langdon before squaring off against his DSR teammate, Matt Hagan, in the final round. It was Beckman’s 54th Funny Car final, and first at the Gatornationals.

Hagan and Beckman made nearly identical runs in their Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars powered by Pennzoil, but Beckman’s reaction time advantage earned him the win, with his 4.035-second pass edging Hagan’s 4.034.

Not only did Beckman get to finally achieve his goal of winning ‘the Gators,’ but Sunday’s victory was also a sentimental one for the driver of Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car.

“I flew in a day earlier, and on Thursday I went to the Hall of Fame [dinner]. I got to present Johnny Gray with the Pat Garlits award in honor of Terry Chandler, whose name is still on the side of our car and is the one who made all of this possible. There are 21 of us who have jobs today because of Terry Chandler and how big her heart was, and now her husband Doug wants to carry it on. He’s loving it because he knows Terry is looking down and saying, ‘Alright -- my boys did it.’”

Sunday’s win was the 27th of Beckman’s professional career and first of 2018. He moved from sixth to ranked second in the NHRA Funny Car points standings.
Qualified: No. 1 (3.911 E.T. at 332.18 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.934 E.T. at 327.43 MPH defeated Jim Campbell 4.183 E.T. at 305.29 MPH
E2: 3.937 E.T. at 318.54 MPH defeated Del Worsham 4.032 E.T. at 315.56 MPH
E3: 4.478 E.T. at 199.35 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 9.414 E.T. at 81.39 MPH
E4: 4.035 E.T. at 323.58 MPH defeated Matt Hagan 4.034 E.T. at 322.04 MPH

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
247 points, ranked No. 2
Leads third ranked Courtney Force by 28 points
Trails points leader Matt Hagan by 21 points


Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 3 (3.751 E.T. at 327.74 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 5.162 E.T. at 191.05 MPH defeated Audrey Worm 8.482 E.T. at 63.53 MPH
E2: 3.793 E.T. at 324.20 MPH defeated Leah Pritchett 3.779 E.T. at 327.51 MPH
E3: 6.132 E.T. at 196.62 MPH defeated by Richie Crampton 5.097 E.T. at 204.85 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying third, the 2013 NHRA Gatornationals Top Fuel event champion faced rookie Audrey Worm in round one. Brown, the 2017 Gatornationals runner-up, had the advantage at the step. The car smoked the tires early into the run, and Brown pedaled it down the Gainesville Raceway stretch to pick up an ugly round win over Worm who encountered problems right at the hit.

In the quarterfinals, the three-time Top Fuel champion went to battle with his DSR/Army Racing teammate, Leah Pritchett. Both drivers made solid runs, but Brown was able to edge past Pritchett for the win.

Brown's day ended with a semifinal matchup versus Richie Crampton. For the third round in a row, Brown had the better reaction time. Unfortunately, his dragster went up in smoke almost immediately and Crampton was able to pick up the round win.

"It was tricky out here. The track got hot. It just kept getting worse and worse during the day. We were trying to keep up with it and we were getting close. We made a good lap in the second round and then we backed it off for the third round. We just didn't back it off enough. With that being said, we're going rounds and we're picking things off one at a time. We just need to keep improving."

"Our Matco Tools/U.S. Army Toyota team is starting to get our feet under them. We're taking it one step at a time and it's coming. We're going to be fine. We just need a little bit of time."

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
210 points, ranked No. 2
Leads third ranked Clay Millican by six points
Trails first ranked Steve Torrence by seven points

Driver of the Papa John's Pizza/FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
Also Competed in the Factory Stock Showdown

Top Fuel:
Qualified: No. 6 (3.811 E.T. at 325.77 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.735 E.T. at 321.50 MPH defeated Terry Haddock 4.032 E.T. at 284.75 MPH
E2: 3.779 E.T. at 327.51 MPH defeated by Antron Brown 3.793 E.T. at 324.20 MPH

Race Recap:
Pritchett clocked a 3.735-second at 321.50-mph pass in the Papa John’s/FireAde Top Fuel dragster to knock out Terry Haddock in the opening round of eliminations. She showcased her quick reflexes with a .053 reaction time at the starting tree, the quickest light of the round.

Pritchett’s day ended in the quarterfinals with a 3.779-sec run. Despite making the second quickest pass of the session, it wasn't enough to overcome teammate Antron Brown’s even quicker and faster 3.793-sec run.

"We are still making progress. I feel like we have our gremlins out of the way. Our hot rod is back and it showed it on the track today. I take the blame for losing to my U.S. Army teammate Antron Brown. He came out stronger. It’s extremely frustrating. I missed it. I’ve been on it all weekend in both cars and missed it when it counted most. We win together as a team and it feels great. The highs are high and the lows are low. Having to sit on that for two weeks waiting for Las Vegas isn’t going to be fun, but we get to switch gears and put ourselves in the Four-Wide mindset. This has been an exciting, very high-paced weekend in Gainesville. I’m disappointed it ended early, and on my shoulders, but we’ll bounce back.
"To be able to come out on Sunday and post our best two runs of the weekend shows that we qualified with strategy. That’s what this entire season is all about. Today’s runs were an accumulation of what was learned in the four qualifying runs. That shows that the overall big picture is what’s important. We aren’t out here to show out on occasion, we are here for the long haul."

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
147 points, ranked No. 8
Leads ninth ranked Brittany Force by 30 points
Trails seventh ranked Scott Palmer by 14 points

Factory Stock Showdown:
Qualified: No. 7 (8.109 E.T. at 168.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 8.183 E.T. at 166.50 MPH defeated Daniel Condon 8.204 E.T. at 165.52 MPH
E2: 8.353 E.T. at 163.91 MPH defeated by Randy Taylor 8.189 E.T. at 165.99 MPH

Race Recap:
Pritchett was first off of the starting line in both rounds of Factory Stock Showdown competition. Despite her reaction time advantage, her second round opponent Randy Taylor was able to take the lead and cross the line first, ending Pritchett's first Factory Stock Showdown event of the year with a quarterfinal finish.


Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (3.785 E.T. at 329.67 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.717 E.T. at 329.26 MPH defeated Brittany Force 3.742 E.T. at 329.10 MPH
E2: 4.604 E.T. at 200.77 MPH defeated by Shawn Reed 4.027 E.T. at 245.58 MPH

Race Recap:
After resetting the Gainesville Raceway speed record earlier in the weekend and running low E.T. of the first qualifying session, the defending event champion looked prime for a repeat.

Schumacher began his race day with a round one matchup versus Brittany Force. Force made her best run of the weekend, but it was no match for Schumacher's 3.717-second pass, which held up to be best of the raceday.

The winningest Top Fuel driver in Gainesville Raceway history faced Shawn Reed in the quarterfinals. Schumacher was first off of the line but an electrical short inside the cockpit prevented him from making a clean run, and it was Reed's race to win.

“We had an electric issue right when I staged the car. I’ve never had that happen before. I hit the gas and the timers never worked. I smoked the tires because none of the timers were doing anything. I pedaled it once. Pedaled twice and I wasn’t going to catch him, so I shut it off. That’s when I saw the smoke and small fire inside the cockpit. I smacked it and put it out with my hands, but just like that our day was over. It’s frustrating to have something like that happen. We worked hard all weekend to put ourselves in a good position today and that showed in the first round when we made our best pass of the weekend. This U.S. Army team won’t quit. We all want to win so bad. We’ll get back after it and just keep plugging away. This was a great weekend for the fans of NHRA and we were just hoping to make Gatornationals history today. We’ll have to come back next year and try again.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
198 points, ranked No. 4
Leads fifth ranked Doug Kalitta by 16 points
Trails third ranked Clay Millican by six points

Funny Car:


Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 7 (3.944 E.T. at 325.06 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.959 E.T. at 324.28 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 3.981 E.T. at 325.30 MPH
E2: 4.060 E.T. at 317.64 MPH defeated Courtney Force 8.255 E.T. at 88.83 MPH
E3: 9.134 E.T. at 81.86 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 4.056 E.T. at 310.91 MPH

Race Recap:
The three-time Gatornationals Funny Car champion earned a spot in the top half of the field after running low E.T. of qualifying rounds three and four, picking up six valuable bonus points.

On race day, Ron Capps’ first opponent was Bob Tasca III. Tasca and his team weren’t taking Capps lightly, when they clocked their best run of the weekend (3.981), but it was no match for Capps’ 3.959.

In round two, the 2016 World Champion had lane choice versus Courtney Force. Capps was first off of the starting line and never trailed for the win. He drove his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T down Gainesville Raceway in 4.060-seconds and into the semifinal round.

It was a battle of the DSR Dodges in round three as Capps took on his teammate Matt Hagan. Capps pulled away first but hazed the tires early. Unfortunately for Capps, Hagan was able to make a clean pass, setting off the win light and ending Capps’ day.

“You know, it’s such a big race, the Gatornationals. These big races seem to take a little bit more to get over. And the further you go on Sunday, like we did getting to the semifinals, you feel like you have a good shot. The way I look at it, the more runs we give [crew chief] Rahn Tobler, the more competitive our car is going to get, and I really felt like we had a handle on it. For some reason, it smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle, and we haven’t done that in a long time.

“We’ll have to look and see what it did and go on to the next race. It was a tough track, tough weekend for crew chiefs, with the weather changing day in and day out. We’ll take the semifinals and go on, but we really felt it was our shot to get the NAPA AutoCare guys into the Winner Circle.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
218 points, ranked No. 4
Leads fifth ranked Robert Hight by 33 points
Trails third ranked Courtney Force by one point

Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 6 (3.941 E.T. at 328.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.976 E.T. at 328.38 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 7.821 E.T. at 131.27 MPH
E2: 4.027 E.T. at 291.26 MPH defeated Robert Hight 4.067 E.T. at 265.53 MPH
E3: 4.056 E.T. at 310.91 MPH defeated Ron Capps 9.134 E.T. at 81.86 MPH
E4: 4.034 E.T. at 322.04 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 4.035 E.T. at 323.58 MPH

Race Recap:
Hagan’s run to the final round in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge included a first-round win over Tim Wilkerson and then a wild, fiery ride against Robert Hight in the quarterfinals. Hight’s engine exploded near the 660-ft mark, with his Funny Car body flying apart. As Hagan raced by in the right lane his engine did the same, sending the car body flying high in the air, but Hagan was able to cross the line at 4.027/291.26 to earn a hard-fought round win.
The Mopar Express Lane Dodge team and crew chief Dickie Venables thrashed and dug deep to get a backup car ready for Hagan to face DSR teammate and Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps in the semifinals. The hard work paid off as Hagan posted a solid 4.056/310.91 to advance to his 49th career final round and reach a remarkable milestone, his 500th career round of racing.
“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest. I've never been to the finals in Gainesville. We kind of started off with a whole new game plan from qualifying and the track conditions were pretty good. We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round. Then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, and to turn a win light on against Capps then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.
"These guys put a great race car together. We ran a really close race out there. It was within one [thousandths of a second] but it was one of those deals where I just got left on by Jack Beckman. It's one of those deals were you put that in the bank there and you don't forget it. You have to go home and work on that and not let these guys down who worked all day long to get you there. We'll take these next few weeks and revaluate and focus and move forward.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
268 points, ranked No. 1
Leads second ranked Jack Beckman by 21 points

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5 (3.933 E.T. at 327.27 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.995 E.T. at 325.69 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 4.083 E.T. at 298.87 MPH
E2: 4.841 E.T. at 172.10 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 4.025 E.T. at 313.37 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying in the top half of the field, the most recent Funny Car runner-up faced Cruz Pedregon in round one. Johnson was first out of the gate and never trailed, driving Terry and Doug Chandler's Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to the win with a clean and straight pass.

In round two, Johnson once again had the starting line advantage. Unfortunately for Johnson, his opponent Shawn Langdon was able to pull ahead early into the run and take the win against Johnson's tire smoking effort.

“We’re making a little progress, but we’re going to have to keep working at it. We’ve got good data on the six-disc [clutch]. When track conditions are good we run well and qualify well. We just need to keep learning what adjustments to make when the track conditions change and it gets hot out.

“So, we’re making some strides, we’re still going a round or two. If we can continue this progress, we’ll get better and better.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Vegas. We went there and won last year, and it’s always one of my favorite tracks, where we seem to do well. It’s a good racetrack to go to and rebound, get some round wins, get some more data on the six-disc clutch and hopefully top it off with another win.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
182 points, ranked No. 6
Leads seventh ranked Shawn Langdon by eight points
Trails fifth ranked Robert Hight by three points
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