50th annual NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
March 15-17, 2019
DSR Gainesville Elimination Highlights:
- Leah Pritchett departs Gainesville sitting second in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship Top Fuel rankings
- DSR Dodge Hellcats occupy three of the top five spots in the Funny Car point standings with Jack Beckman leading the way in second
- Beckman powered to a semifinal finish
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 6 (3.900 E.T. at 323.74 MPH)
E1: 3.905 E.T. at 326.79 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 4.353 E.T. at 255.53 MPH
E2: 3.898 E.T. at 329.67 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.892 E.T. at 327.03 MPH
E3: 4.211 E.T. at 267.27 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 3.896 E.T. 329.02 MPH
Defending Gatornationals Funny Car champion Jack Beckman was looking to become the seventh driver to win back-to-back at Gainesville Raceway, but he was knocked out in the semifinals by Tim Wilkerson.
Behind the wheel of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Beckman earned the No. 6 position on the elimination ladder with his qualifying run in Saturday’s final session. He continued his quest for history at the 50th annual Gatornationals by defeating reigning Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd with a pass of 3.905 seconds. In round two, it was a duel of Hellcat Funny Cars with Beckman scoring a narrow win with his pass of 3.898 seconds at 329.67 to defeat his teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., who posted a run of 3.892 seconds at 327.03-mph. Beckman’s six-round win streak at the Gators came to a halt in the semifinals when Tim Wilkerson raced away with his pass of 3.896 to best Beckman’s run of 4.211.
“There is no Don Schumacher Racing driver that says we had a great weekend if you are not holding the trophy. We had a good weekend. It didn’t start off that way. We struggled the first three qualifying runs and finally got to the finish line on the last qualifying run. I think that’s all the guys needed. For (co-crew chiefs Dean) Guido (Antonelli) and John (Medlen), now they had data. We stepped on it. We had a great running car. I don’t know if we stepped on it too far in the semifinals. We’ll have to look at the data. Tim Wilkerson was running phenomenal. We had to go up there and turn all the screws up. The upside is that we leave here in a good position with points, but the downside is you want every single trophy you can get your hands on. We’ll see if we can get that trophy in Las Vegas.”