It didn’t matter to Jack Beckman that the $100,000 he earned Sunday for his third triumph in the Traxxas Shootout was promised away before he got to ride up the return road and wave to the fans at the NHRA’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
It didn’t matter that he beat opponent Robert Hight to the finish line with a mysteriously, inexplicably broken windshield.
All that mattered was that his 3.952-second elapsed time at 324.67 mph in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger was quicker on the 1,000-foot course at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis than Robert Hight’s 4.360, 207.11 in the Auto Club Camaro.It was a rematch of their 2015 Traxxas Shootout final – with the same result, handing Hight his fourth consecutive runner-up finish in the bonus race that pits seven of the year’s event winners and fan-vote lottery winner.
This was Beckman’s third Traxxas Shootout victory in four years and made him perfect in every final-round appearance. He playfully reached over to the oversized ceremonial paycheck that was made out to “Fast Jack Beckman” and scribbled on it to make the payee “Fast Jack Beckman’s Wife.” But he probably should have signed it over immediately to Don Schumacher Racing colleague Tony Schumacher. Before Beckman could pose for pictures with his bonus-race trophy in the winner’s circle, Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army Dragster had detonated in a massive fireball.
“Beckman, you’re the man. We’re going to spend that 100-grand real quick,” Schumacher said after climbing from his seriously wounded dragster. “Don’t go buying a plane yet.”
Beckman, who advanced past DSR mates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps on his way to the final round, said, “Just getting in [the field] is incredibly difficult. There’s a big litany of ways to make your way into the field, but there’s only one way to get the trophy. You’ve got to beat three of the baddest fuel cars on the planet.
When Courtney Force got voted in on the fan vote, you knew you had eight first-class cars in the Shootout. You’ve got eight cars not only capable of winning the Traxxas Shootout, but those eight cars also are contending for the championship at the end of the year.”
The Infinite Hero Foundation team, as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge that Tommy Johnson Jr. drives, has been funded completely by benefactor Terry Chandler under the DSR umbrella. Chandler passed away July 4 following a bout with brain cancer, and her husband Doug has agreed to fund the team fully for the next three years. And Beckman recognized that “this is the first trophy since Terry passed away. She’ll live on in our thoughts.”
Hight beat JR Todd and boss John Force before the showdown against Beckman.
By Susan Wade
Racing, NHRA, NHRA Funny Car
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