Jack Beckman is quite vocal about his not being a fan of the new qualifying bonus points system the NHRA had instituted for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series' Countdown to 1 playoffs, which began last weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. Despite his disfavor, the driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car plans to earn as many of those bonus points as he can, starting at this weekend's NHRA Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas.
Because he did not collect any bonus points (three, two and one for the top three, respectively, in each qualifying round) at zMAX and then bowed out in the second round of eliminations, the California native enters the Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in sixth place, 45 points out of the top spot.
“It's too early to tell what will happen,” said Beckman, who qualified fifth in Ennis last year and made it to the semifinals. “We're less than three rounds out of first place. We're certainly a lot closer to first than we've been since the second race of the year, because of the resetting of Countdown points.
“However, these new bonus points available for qualifying – which I'm not in favor of, as I believe that rules changes should be announced at the beginning of a season – are going to really shake things up. Unfortunately, I think that, in the long run, it's going to help determine the outcome of a couple of championships. It's certainly going to affect Funny Car. So, we're going to have to suck it up.
“We're going to have to try to gobble up a couple of those points per race. We didn't get any of them in Concord. We have five races left, and, if we want to have a chance of ending up at the banquet at the end of the year with the big trophy, we're going to need to go 12 rounds and count on some of the lead cars stumbling a little bit. That means we've got to average better than a semifinal. So, we'd better try our best and get this Valvoline/MTS Dodge into the final in Dallas.
“Dallas has a reputation of being a fast track and it also has a reputation of being a very tricky track. It's really going to be interesting to see how things play out there.
“I said it before: We have a car that's capable of winning at any race. We haven't won for eight races, so we've got to get this thing back into a final round or two soon and we've got to get into the winner's circle again before the end of the season if we hope to contend for the championship.”