Mopar Racing– Runner-Up Finish for Beckman and 2015 Dodge Charger R/T at Texas NHRA FallNationals

Runner-Up Finish for Beckman and 2015 Dodge Charger R/T at Texas NHRA FallNationals

· Jack Beckman drives 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T to his ninth final elimination round of the season for a runner-up finish at 30th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
· Beckman remains second in hunt for Funny Car championship and is less than two rounds behind points leader
· All four DSR Mopars re-shuffle their positions in the top-five with two “NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” national events left
· Allen Johnson takes Magneti Marelli HEMI-powered Dodge Dart to third semifinal of the Countdown at Texas Motorplex and moves up to fourth in points

Ennis, Texas (Oct. 18, 2015) – Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Jack Beckman drove the Infinite Hero 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his ninth final elimination round appearance of the season for a runner-up finish against points leader Del Worsham at Texas Motorplex for the 30th anniversary edition of the AAA Texas National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) FallNationals, the fourth of six “Countdown to the Championship” playoff events. With the result, Beckman remains second in the hunt for the Funny Car world championship crown and is within 38 points of the lead with two playoff events remaining.

After qualifying second and earning round wins over Tony Pedregon, John Force, and DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., Beckman advanced to the final elimination battle against No. 1 qualifier Worsham. The Mopar left first and posted an elapsed time run of 4.077 seconds at 286.25 miles per hour in a close contest that unfortunately saw Beckman beaten by his competitor’s 4.041 second / 272.17 mph pass.

“It stings to lose one that close,” said Beckman. “It’s one of those races that I’d like to watch at home with the replay. The car was trucking along and then spun the tires and hunted for the wall, but it was far enough down track to just keep the throttle down, hang on and hope it’s enough. Talking to Del (Worsham) after the race, he was having more problems in his lane and had to step off of it. Had we lost in the final to anybody but Del, we would’ve left here with the points lead.”

Worsham earned the Countdown points lead by scoring all three of his season wins in the playoffs against DSR drivers Beckman, Johnson Jr. and Matt Hagan. Beckman, who won the national title at previous playoff event in Reading, Pennsylvania, is looking to be perfect for the remaining races in the hopes of scoring a second Funny Car world title.

“We’re probably going to have to go do that at the next two races and get eight round wins,” added Beckman who has a career-best seven wins to his credit this season to date. “I think if you look at what we’ve done this year, the Infinite Hero team is capable of doing that. We were six rounds out before and now we’re less than two rounds out so we’re still in a decent position with two races left. I think we’re going to content all the way to the final elimination round at Pomona.”

Since its debut, the DSR 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T has advanced to the final elimination round in all but one of the 22 events this season and has earned 15 national titles

Ron Capps contributed two of those wins and was hoping to add another before the eventual title winner shortened his day. Prior to that however, Capps was consistent and quick with a handful of 3-second passes aboard his 2015 Dodge Charger R/T including all three of his eliminations rounds. He used a 3.940/322.73 pass to get past Cruz Pedregon then posted a 3.957/322.73 for the win over Robert Hight, but despite a starting line advantage, his 3.999/319.29 wasn’t quite enough to beat Worsham’s 3.975/320.66 in the semifinals. Capps moves up slightly in the points to fourth place.

Johnson Jr. also moved up a spot from fourth to third in the standings with his semi-final appearance after powering his Make-A-Wish 2015 Dodge Charger R/T to a pair of 3-second runs over Chad Head and Mopar teammate Hagan. While he lost to his DSR stablemate, Beckman, after an uncharacteristically slow reaction time and the loss of cylinders on his run for the finish, Johnson isn’t ready to ease up on his hopes to contend for the world title anytime soon.

“We had a good car in qualifying, and we came into race day knowing we needed to have a good car to go rounds,” Johnson Jr. said. “The car was running flawless up to the semifinals. We had a good day going, and we’re trying to keep ourselves in the championship. We’re not out of it yet, but it’s going to be tough from here on out.”

Seeded third for eliminations, reigning Funny Car World Champion Hagan got a mulligan in the first round when his opponent, Blake Alexander, had a red-light start while he hazed the tires and lost some cylinders on his trek down the lane. The Pennzoil-schemed 2015 Dodge Charger R/T moved on to the quarterfinals for a very close contest that saw Hagan’s 3.993-second pass nipped at the line by .005-seconds by Johnson Jr.’s 3.975-second run. Despite four wins during the regular season, Hagan has been shut out of the winner’s circle in the Countdown but is still hanging tough in fifth place.

As winner of the 2012 edition of the NHRA FallNationals en route to his first Pro Stock world championship title, Allen Johnson was looking to make a similar move by taking his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart through eliminations in any way he could.

Seeded tenth, Johnson started things off in the opening round by going straight into the starting line beams and “double bulbing” his opponent Vincent Nobile, posting a .022 second reaction time and then running his quickest pass of the weekend with a 6.493/212.96 for the win.

In the quarterfinals, Johnson did the exact same thing to Jason Line this time using a holeshot to turn on the win lights.

“We changed our third engine of the weekend, double-bulbed twice, had a holeshot win and pretty much did everything we could to claw our way through elimination and stay in the championship hunt,” said Johnson who moves up a spot in the Countdown standings from fifth to fourth with the result. “The car is making some of the best runs we’ve made all year but for some reason we’re changing engines and so we have to figure out what’s going on there.

“I actually didn’t mean to double bulb Vincent (Nobile) but then before the second round Jason (Line) came up to me and asked “Are you’re going to do that to me too?”, so I said “I will” and I did,” chuckled Johnson. “He said he’d do it right back to me but in the end he didn’t. It’s just a little bit of fun up there for us and the fans. It makes the Pro Stock racing even more fun and interesting. When you are the underdog you have to do everything you can to get your competitor out of their zone. It wasn’t our day to win but we had a decent day for what we had.”

From his 13th starting position on the ladder, V. Gaines, who’s two of four career wins (2000 and 2001) have come at Texas Motorsplex, was looking to do everyone a favor by driving his Dodge Dart to an upset win over the points leader Erica Enders-Stevens in the first round. While he made a valiant effort with a 6.505/212/59 pass, it wasn’t enough to beat his competition and she went on to win her seventh national title of the year and extended her lead in the points by 154 markers over her closest competitor.

Two other Mopars in the field also saw early exits as Alan Prusiensky and his 2012 Dodge Avenger lost to Jason Line, while the Dodge Dart of Deric Kramer took a loss against No.1 qualifier Drew Skillman.

After a week break, Mopar teams and drivers will head west for the final two NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” playoff series events with the next showdown scheduled to take place at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from Oct. 29 to Nov.1 for the 15th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.