Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beckman, NHRA Funny Car driver, wins in Atlanta

It was rematch between Jack Beckman and Ashley Force Hood in the NHRA Funny Car final at Atlanta Dragway. Beckman came out the winner this time, beating Force Hood for his first win of the season.
“On paper, Ashley's car had us whooped,” said Beckman, a driver from North Hills. “That car’s been the class of the field for about eight, nine months. Anything can happen when you have 8,000 horsepower and nitro in the tank. It is such an awesome feeling. It’s not that you get pessimistic it’s that you just never know when you’ll make a final round with a field as tight as it is now and then we make it in Houston and just got whooped up on by Ashley.”
The two drivers met in the NHRA Funny Car final at Houston. Force Hood came away the winner in that meeting.
With the win in Atlanta, Beckman moved up to second place in the Funny Car standings. Force Hood is third in the Funny Car standings, one point behind Beckman.
“Our team has always believed that consistency is the key,” Force Hood said. “We’ve always had a really consistent car. Now we are running at the top of the pack. We’re really excited and all we can do now is try to figure out what happened and move on to St. Louis and the next race.”
Ron Capps, winner of three Funny Car events, leads the Funny Car standings.
In other action around Southern California this weekend, J.R. Hildebrand, a driver from Sausalito, Calif., won the Firestone Indy Lights race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Daniel Herrington, driving a car for Valencia’s Bryan Herta and his Bryan Herta Autosport, was 10th in the Indy Lights race in Long Beach.
“Honestly, it has been a frustrating weekend,” Herrington said. “We had some decent practices, but weren't quite happy with the car. Then with trouble getting a clean lap during qualifying, it put us at a serious disadvantage for the race. We made some more changes to the car to see how it would react, but the track seemed to change a lot and the car was a handful out there. The guys did a great job this weekend. We’ll take out top 10 and get out of here, but we definitely need to improve some on the street circuits. The spirit of the team is really optimistic about ovals and I am looking forward to Kansas.”
Camarillo’s Charlie Kimball was 19th. Jonathan Bomarito, a driver from Monterey making his Indy Lights debut and racing for a team owned in part by Ray and Leslie Mathiasen of Encino, was 18th.

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