BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 18, 2015) – Call them Jimmy, John and Chris.
Or call them Prock, Medlen and Cunningham.
Ah, heck, just call them Pro-Med-Ingham.
And call them the record-setting turnaround kings.
Jack Beckman, driver of their Don Schumacher Racing Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T, is running out of superlatives to describe the Prock Rocket trio after stunning performances exhibited during the recently completed three-week NHRA Western Swing through Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle.
The Infinite Hero team completed the three races in three weeks with two Funny Car titles, three mindnumbingly quick runs and set the NHRA national elapsed time record in Funny Car.
The team won two of the three Western Swing races and three of the past five. At Sonoma, Jack ran the quickest ever lap at 3.921 seconds and backed that up later in the event with a 3.958 that was within 1 percent of the 3.921 to establish the record.
The following week at Pacific Raceways near Seattle, the team uncorked a time of 3.912 that became the quickest ever en route to finishing in the semifinals but the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T couldn’t come within 1 percent to further lower the mark.
But what’s more shocking is how the team rebounded from not qualifying for the season-opener in Feburary at Pomona, Calif., and rallied for five titles over in the last 13 races that puts them only five points behind DSR teammate Matt Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables for the points lead heading to this weekend’s race at Brainerd International Raceway in central Minnesota.
This weekend is the penultimate event of the 16-race Mello Yello season with only the prestigious U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend near Indianapolis left before the fields of top-10 are determined to compete for NHRA world championships in the six-race Countdown to the Championship. The points leader after Indy will take a 30-point lead into the playoff with the other eight drivers separated by 10 points.
“We’re chasing Hagan and Dickie and they have been the class of the field for a year and a half and they stretched out a lead that I thought was insurmountable,” Jack said of the reigning Funny Car world champions that led his Infinite Hero team by 145 points eight races ago and had cut the gap to 86 before the Western Swing.
“They won their fourth race before anyone but Capps had won two races. The only way to catch a car like that is if you do perfect and they stumble, but we did better than perfect on the Western Swing because we got the national record and all those bonus points in qualifying.
“If we can take over first, that’s a 30 points cushion and more importantly, it’s a 60-point swing relative to the top two teams.”
To help prepare for this weekend’s Brainerd event, Jack and his family flew to Boise, Idaho, where he made 15 laps over four days driving a 160-mph Top dragster owned by longtime friends Dick and Kathi Vandermeer of Nampa, Idaho.
JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero 2015 Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 2nd 16 5 1 2 3 4 3 1 29-10
CAREER 220 20 21 39 61 72 13 7 280-193
Best Time, Speed: 3.912-quickest ever (2015, Seattle); 323.43 (2015, Sonoma); 3.921 sec.-NHRA record (2015, Sonoma)
Last event: Seattle (Aug. 7-9, 2015): Qualified No. 1; lost in semifinals to Tommy Johnson Jr.
A year ago at Brainerd: Qualified No. 10; lost in quarterfinals to Ron Capps
Career at Brainerd: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2008, 2010); Poles 2 (2012-13)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Official after Seattle; 16 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. MATT HAGAN (4) 1,177 —-
2. JACK BECKMAN (5) 1,172 -5
3. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (2) 1,063 -114
4. John Force (2) 1,025 -152
5. Del Worsham 1,004 -173
6. RON CAPPS (2) 988 -189
7. Cruz Pedregon 872 -305
8. Tim Wilkerson (1) 870 -307
9. Alexis DeJoria 819 -358
9. Robert Hight 819 -358
About Infinite Hero Foundation
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Infinite Hero Foundation combats the most difficult front line issues – mental and physical – facing returning military heroes and their families. The Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and the accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries. For more information, visit: www.infinitehero.org.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Matco Tools dragster driven by Antron Brown and the Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher dragster driven by Spencer Massey; and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR has won 260 NHRA national event titles and 13 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing