Auto Club NHRA Finals
Event 24 of 24 (Pomona II)
Countdown Event 6 of 6
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
November 15-17, 2019
DSR Pomona II Elimination Highlights:
- Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman closes out the season with a win at the Auto Club NHRA Finals
- Beckman’s victory was his 30th overall, second of the season, and first at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
- Beckman closed out 2019 second in the standings and with the opportunity to choose a Dodge SRT high-performance vehicle to drive for a year
- Matt Hagan advanced to the semifinal round and finished the season ranked third in the Funny Car standings
- Leah Pritchett raced to a semifinal finish and improved one spot up to fourth behind the wheel of her MOPAR-powered Top Fuel dragster
- With Beckman’s win at the season-closer, all current DSR nitro drivers have been victorious at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
- Beckman closes 2019 with Funny Car Victory
POMONA, Calif. (November 17, 2019) – Jack Beckman closed the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season by racing the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to his second victory of the year at the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.
The win for Beckman, his 30th career Funny Car triumph, concluded a season where DSR clinched 11 Funny Car victories in the 24-race NHRA campaign.
Beckman and Funny Car teammate Matt Hagan made strong championship bids, with both drivers entering the race weekend within striking distance of picking up the 2019 title. The two former world champions started race day needing to advance two rounds beyond eventual champion Robert Hight, but both came up short in the end. Beckman finished second and Hagan, winner of the two previous NHRA events, finished third in the final standings.
Beckman opened the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff with a victory in the MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil in Reading, Pa. and was in contention throughout. He advanced to the final in Charlotte and established new track records in Las Vegas en route to a semifinal finish before this weekend’s final in Pomona.
“Fast Jack” qualified his Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli/John Medlen-tuned Infinite Hero Hellcat second to start race day at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. His machine-like performances all day included consistent runs for the 2012 Funny Car champion, starting with his pass of 3.946 seconds to defeat John Hale.
He ousted J.R. Todd in the second round and took down upset-minded Blake Alexander in the semifinal to advance to his seventh final of the year. The final versus Hight was a rematch of both the season opener, also at Auto Club Raceway, and the Charlotte Countdown race. Beckman made his fifth consecutive three-second pass of 3.920 seconds – the quickest Funny Car E.T. of race day – to secure his first Pomona victory, but he came up just eight points short of earning his second Funny Car title.
“I’ve never won in Funny Car at Pomona. I’ve won Super Comp at the Winternationals twice, so it was awesome to get that win today,” said the Norco, Calif. resident of finally realizing Funny Car victory on his home turf. “If you win at the Winternationals, the rest of the year is going to be okay because you’ve already won something, but if you do it in the finals, your off-season is fantastic. My guys have given me such a great race car lately, and I stumbled a couple of times, and I don’t want to ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ myself in the off-season. But it is what it is, we finished solidly in second, capped off the year with a win, we have a phenomenal car, and things are awesome right now. I’m feeling on top of the world.”
By closing out the year ranked second, Beckman has now finished in the ‘top five’ in 11 out of 13 full-time seasons. He ends 2019 as the highest-ranked DSR driver, which allows him the opportunity to select a Dodge SRT high-performance vehicle to drive for a year.
“The crew guys are already telling me ‘it’s staying in Indy, you’re going to have to come visit it,’” he joked of taking delivery of his new set of wheels.
“I don’t think it would be a stretch to say we had the best Funny Car this year, or at least the last several races,” Beckman went on to add. “Guido and John treated this season like a regular-season in the Countdown. We sacrificed a few races early in the year to get the clutch package right, to get dialed-in to the new track prep, and to get all our spare parts sorted out. And it paid off. Once we got into the Countdown, the car was thumping from the get-go. We runnered-up at Indy, won the next race at Maple Grove, we were always a factor out there, and I’m certain they’re as fired up about next season as I am.”
The 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season kicks off with the season-opener, the NHRA Winternationals, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Feb. 7th.
Qualified: No. 2 (3.876 E.T. at 332.43 MPH)
E1: 3.946 E.T. at 321.65 MPH defeated John Hale 13.434 E.T. at 39.58 MPH
E2: 3.958 E.T. at 324.20 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 4.005 E.T. at 318.47 MPH
E3: 3.956 E.T. at 320.28 MPH defeated Blake Alexander 4.020 E.T. at 308.85 MPH
E4: 3.920 E.T. at 323.27 MPH defeated Robert Hight, No Time
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Final Standings:
1. Steve Torrence – 2607
2. Doug Kalitta – 2604
3. Brittany Force – 2555
4. Leah Pritchett – 2474
5. Billy Torrence – 2458
6. Richie Crampton – 2399
7. Mike Salinas – 2381
8. Austin Prock – 2379
9. Antron Brown – 2329
10. Clay Millican – 2300
1. Robert Hight – 2637
2. Jack Beckman – 2629
3. Matt Hagan – 2563
4. John Force – 2471
5. Bob Tasca III – 2446
6. Ron Capps – 2414
7. J.R. Todd – 2391
8. Tommy Johnson Jr – 2360
9. Shawn Langdon – 2358
10. Tim Wilkerson – 2283
About Don Schumacher Racing:
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 335 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.
Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.
DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.