NHRA: Jack Beckman roars, Spencer Massey twice surpasses 332 mph in preseason test

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While John Force Racing begins a two-day test Monday in suburban Phoenix, top rival Don Schumacher Racing is already thinking championships in Top Fuel and Funny Car after its own test this weekend.

And not surprisingly, Force kind of figured in Schumacher’s success, as Force’s former crew chiefs, Jimmy Prock and John Medlen, are now crew chief and assistant crew chief, respectively, for DSR Funny Car driver Jack Beckman.

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T, Beckman had an unusual problem of sorts during this past weekend’s test at the PRO Winter Warm-up at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla.

Beckman’s “problem”? He had too much power – a problem that any driver would love to have.

“The car has been telling us that it’s too powerful,” Beckman said in a DSR media release. “We made a lot of changes this off-season and you think you found the ceiling for horsepower and Jimmy Prock took it to a different level and it was just too wicked up here.

“We kept backing it down a little bit and it needed to be backed down a bunch and we backed it down to a four flat at 321 (mph). I’m pretty jazzed about Pomona.”

The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season begins with the 55th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., Feb. 6-8.

Beckman recorded the fastest elapsed times of any Funny Car driver in the test, with field-best runs of 4.003 and 4.031 seconds.

A former two-time NHRA world champ, Beckman has struggled the last two seasons. While Beckman has 15 career wins, he hasn’t won a NHRA national event since Sept. 2012 at Gateway Motorsports Park in suburban St. Louis, a winless streak of 51 national events.

With what he and his car showed this past weekend, Beckman’s long losing streak could quickly come to an end, perhaps as early as the upcoming Winternationals.

“Had we left here without making any representative runs, I’d still feel optimistic because I feel that we have good numbers from last year, we just apply the changes and go to Pomona,” Beckman added. “Now I feel wonderful about our chances. A few good laps makes us feel all the extra effort was well worth it.”

Beckman wasn’t the only member of the seven-team DSR empire who had a stout performance in Florida.

Teammate and Top Fuel driver Spencer Massey twice exceeded 332 mph in his test sessions on both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, Massey recorded a pass of 332.26 mph, followed up Saturday by a run of 332.02 mph (at 3.741 seconds).

Here’s a rundown of how the entire DSR organization did this weekend:

TOP FUEL

Spencer Massey, Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher dragster
Friday
First session: 3.851 secs., 257.38 mph
Second session: 3.723, 332.26
Saturday
First session: 3.794, 288.27
Second session: 9.263, 77.29
Third session: 3.741, 332.02

Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Friday
First session: 3.844 secs., 305.08 mph
Second session: 8.257, 80.52
Saturday
First session: 3.772, 321.50
Second session: 8.305, 79.91
Third session: 8.928, 74.85

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster
Friday
First session: 7.592 secs., 83.36 mph
Second session: 3.793, 305.70
Saturday
First session: 8.237, 81.73
Second session: 9.426, 74.94

FUNNY CAR

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Friday
First session: 15.206 secs., 40.72 mph
Second session: 8.887, 75.33
Saturday
First session: 4.031, 321.04
Second session: 4.003, 321.58

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Friday
First session: 4.161 secs., 242.93 mph
Second session: 4.023, 321.42
Saturday
First session: 8.556, 79.14
Second session: 8.451, 81.71
Third session: 8.636, 80.11

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Friday
First session: 9.217 secs., 79.96 mph
Second session: 4.058, 320.05
Saturday
First session: 11.385, 70.44
Second session: 12.067, 78.68

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Friday
First session: 9.421 secs., 71.73 mph
Second session: 10.115, 69.91
Saturday
First session: 11.005, 78.23
Second session: 9.398, 77.12

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”