By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman ended more than a one-year long drought on Sunday at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. He defeated the living legend in the process.
Beckman went 3.958 at 330.07 mph to receive the Wally. The living legend went 3.952 at 328.78 mph in the losing effort.
This is Beckman’s first win since winning the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on August 19, 2018 at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota.
“You can’t think of it that way,” said Beckman about getting revenge against Force. “You can think of it that way if it is wrestling, boxing, if it is a contact sport. H*ll, you can think of it that way if you’re NASCAR driver because you’re allowed to block, but in NHRA you have zero control over what the car and driver in the other lane are doing. So, did I want to beat him? Of course. Did it sting he beat us in the Indy final? Duh. But, none of that was going to help me be any better.
The thing with John is, in case you guys have not noticed, he will not stage first. He will not even pre-stage first, so Indy I parked on him and he went in first. Here I thought, I don’t want to take myself out of my element, so I just did my normal thing. John will never hang you out, he just will not go in first and that worked out OK for us. You never know. Some fans came over before the final and said they would go razz John and I said, ‘Don’t poke the bear.’ That guy always seems to find a way to get motivated and win more races.”
This was a rematch of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals final round. Force won his 151st win over Beckman on Labor Day.
Before this final round, Beckman went 32-19 against Force. He also held a 4-3 advantage over the legend in prior final rounds.
Beckman had a quicker start with a 0.028 reaction time compared to Force’s 0.068. Force then closed the gap and was leading by a tenth of a second.
However, Beckman was able to close the gap and win the race. He won for the third time at Maple Grove.