NHRA: Beckman hopes to find the winner’s circle at BIR

Jack Beckman hopes to lift the trophy when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals hits Brainerd International Raceway. Beckman won the Funny Car division last year at BIR. NHRA Photo.

Jack Beckman gets a little frustrated when talking about his 2019 racing season. Sure he has raced well enough to have already clinched a spot in the NHRA Funny Car countdown, but he hasn’t won.

“We are the best car that has not won yet this year as far as the point standings go,” Beckman said. “We have been to four finals this year but haven’t been able to close the deal. We have a car good enough to win the championship and haven't even won a race yet. I don’t think you need extra motivation in our sport, but I think our team has that.”

Beckman will come to Brainerd Aug. 12-15 for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. He won the event last year in the Funny Car division and he’ll look to do it again to claim his first trophy of the 2019 season.

Although he hasn’t won yet in 2019, Beckman still thinks he has a good car and can win at any track he shows up to.

“Drag racing sounds pretty simple, you beat four people they hand you the trophy. If you did that in NASCAR you’d finish 37th and nobody would be jumping up and down,” he said. “I think we’ve had a good car, it’s just sometimes not good enough. Everyone knows what we are capable of.”


Beckman isn’t counting on luck to finally get into the winner’s circle for 2019. Every time he pushes his car to the starting line he wants to be smart about running it as hard and consistent as he can.

However, Beckman does feel lucky to be getting a paycheck for something he has loved since he was seven-years-old and that’s drag racing. He also knows that lifting the trophy on Sunday after a weekend of racing puts the NHRA Championship on his crew’s minds.

“It’s incredibly important for everyone on our team to have the Sunday where no one can outrun us,” he said. “We’ve been really good, just not good enough to win the trophy.”

At Chicago, Beckman redlighted in the semifinals costing him a chance to get that first win of 2019. He out ran Robert Hight in the other lane but was too quick off the start giving Hight the win in the semifinals. In Beckman’s mind the loss cost him his best chance to win a trophy.

Even though he has not won a trophy in 2019, Beckman finds the silver lining in the fact he has already clinched a spot in the top 10 countdown with a chance to take home the NHRA Championship.

“You have to look at macro and the micro,” Beckman said. “I look at it more as a war. You have 24 battles and you know you aren’t going to win them all and frankly you’d be lucky to win two or three of them in a year. But you have to be in the now when you pull in a race track and in the starting line.”

Beckman also doesn’t put too much pressure on himself inside the car to hope to avoid mistakes. He loves the saying “over prepare then go out your own way” and he takes that to the track with him.

Beckman has roots in Minnesota. His mom’s father grew up on a farm in Montevideo and he’ll have cousins come over to watch him race at Brainerd International Raceway this weekend.


As far as the racing goes Beckman feels like he has a pretty good feel for how BIR is going to run having won the event last year.

“Every race has a different flavor,” he said. “People think that because every race track is straight and 1,000 feet long, there is no difference to where we go. I think people prepare for Brainerd for 11 1/2 months because of the 400-acre campground and it's an awesome place to interact with fans.”

Beckman also mentioned that BIR can be a record-breaking race track because when the weather is good, the track is smooth to where racers can hit their personal record times.

“Often times we run our quickest and fastest times at Brainerd,” he said. “I think as a driver and I know the crew chiefs lick their lips to flex their muscles in Brainerd.”

Beckman hopes he can use his win last year at BIR as an advantage coming into this year and get into the winner’s circle for the first time in 2019.

“We have eight runs worth of data based on last year,” he said. “It’s always nice going back to somewhere you won the year before because I feel with that extra data you have an advantage.”


Info Box:
Jack Beckman
Ride: Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Crew chief: John Medlen and Dean Antonelli
Hometown: Granada Hills, California
Last year at BIR: Won the Funny Car division
Current standing: Fifth
What To Read Next
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Hibbing Friday, Feb. 3.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Gogebic Community College Friday, Feb. 3.