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|Jack Beckman (Ron Lewis photo)|
Jack Beckman had the best seat at Lucas Oil Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 9, when Todd Lesenko blew up his Impala Funny Car for the second straight day of the NHRA U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis.
Unfortunately for Beckman, he had a bird's eye view because a $5 air-line fitting broke on his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T that caused his car to lose traction and then prevented him from being able to recover quickly enough to catch the fireball.
"We lost because of the proverbial $5 parts failure," Beckman said, explaining the fitting led to an air leak that adversely affected the system that controls various onboard systems including clutch management.
"I pedaled (the throttle) when it started to lose traction but it didn't respond because the clutch management system didn't have the air to control it."
Compounding the part failure, Leskenko was ahead when his car exploded and it appeared Lesenko might veer into Beckman's lane.
"I didn't want to run into Todd if his car moved over so I didn't get back on it until I saw he was staying in his lane," Beckman said. "Then I figured I could nudge into the throttle and get the win. But as soon as I got back in throttle it popped the supercharger because (the engine) was full of raw fuel from lack of the management system.
"It was just a snowball effect of things that went wrong. If any one of the things that went wrong didn't go wrong we could have gotten to the finish line first."
Lesenko's 5.243-second run at 126.34 mph beat Beckman's 5.822 (123.56).
The frustration of the early end to the day was compounded because Beckman's Dodge tuned by crew chief Todd Smith and assistant Terry Snyder qualified second for the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series' most prestigious race of the season that took two weekends to complete after rain washed out racing on Sept. 2-3.
|Ron Capps (Richard Muir photo)|
Ron Capps was upset in the opening round when Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan ran off with the win when Capps' NAPA Shocks Dodge Charger R/T lost traction just past the starting line.
When Hagan and Don Schumacher Racing's Mopar/Aaron's Dream Machine team lost in the semifinals of the U.S. Nationals on Sunday, and Tim Wilkerson advanced to the final round, it eliminated Hagan from earning a spot in the top-10 and a spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship that begins Sept. 14 in Concord, N.C. Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago cannot repeat as NHRA Funny Car world champions, but the race at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the first of six NHRA events remaining in the season.
"We've put it behind us," a somber Hagan said a few minutes after losing to Mike Neff in the semifinals after Hagan's Dodge quickly lost traction and slowed to a time of 9.428 seconds at 73.95 mph while John Force Racing's Mike Neff went 4.131 seconds and 310.63 mph. "There can be only one champion out there and we wanted to have a chance to defend our championship, but that's not going to happen," Hagan said. "Now our goal is to go out and win a couple races and make something out of the season.
"We think that's very doable and a very obtainable goal. It will bring all these guys' spirits back. It's something we can do during these last six races." [9/12/2012]