NHRA: ‘Fast Jack’ Beckman looks to speed things up in championship bid (Seattle race preview)

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His nickname may be “Fast Jack,” but NHRA Funny Car driver Jack Beckman wants to be “Faster Jack” as the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series closes in on the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

For all intents and purposes, Beckman has had a very good season through the first 15 national events. He’s qualified No. 1 in four races, won his first race of the season last month at Chicago, has reached the final round a total of four times, is currently third in the Funny Car point standings and appears to be well on his way to potentially earning a second NHRA championship.

Except …

Compared to last season, Beckman is struggling. He won a career-high seven wins last season, including the first two races of the Western Swing.

2016_Jack_Beckman headshot
“Fast Jack” Beckman

Fast forward a year to the present time and Beckman not only has just the one win (at Chicago), he’s won just one round win in the first two legs of this year’s Western Swing.

The third and final leg of the Swing is this Sunday in the Protect The Harvest Northwest NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle.

So while things may look good on paper, Beckman is ready to tear things up starting with Seattle and hopefully go on another tear like he did last season.

“You look at the points and it looks like we’re having a pretty solid year, but I don’t think anybody on this team is satisfied with the performance,” Beckman said in a media release. “We’ll clinch a spot in the Countdown before the end of Seattle and we’ll likely go in looking pretty good in the points standings, but we know we’ve been struggling and we know we haven’t hit the sweet spot yet in our tune-up.

“One of the problems is we’ve been playing musical chassis. The shop has been really good with everything, but it’s a lot of extra work getting everything switched over each time.”

Beckman came so close to winning his second Funny Car championship last season, but Del Worsham won the first two races of the Countdown – and four overall of the six playoff events – and Beckman couldn’t quite catch Worsham in the remaining races.

“Every one of our races awards a trophy and every race is important,” said Beckman, who has 23 career victories. “I don’t have a crystal ball but hopefully we can capitalize this weekend.

“This team last year on the Western Swing, we were 8-0 (in round wins) and right now we’re 1-2. I think we just want to walk out of (the Western Swing) with our head held high and the only way to do that is to take the trophy home with us.”

But it won’t be easy for Fast Jack. He has to contend not only with 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, who has won the first two races of the Swing and is looking to win all three for only the second time in its history.

And then Beckman must contend with his own Don Schumacher Racing teammates: Funny Car points leader (and four-time winner this season) Ron Capps, two-time champion Matt Hagan and always dangerous Tommy Johnson Jr.

“It is real easy to be confident when your horse is the fastest horse,” Beckman said. “When you have that attitude you just go back to reacting and you don’t think about things. It feels like you’re doing things naturally.

“When things aren’t going your way you get into that habit of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I still have to do what works best for me and that’s be calm and confident, and go execute. We can’t leave anything on the table anymore.

Every race we leave without a trophy we let an opportunity slip by. I don’t think we can try any harder. Everybody is working hard. We just have to find those small details to get the car to respond like it did last year. But we don’t want to let anything else slip away. They’re giving away three more trophies before the Countdown and we still have a shot to get back into the points lead.”

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WHAT: 29th annual Protect The Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The NHRA Lucas Oil Series also will be featured at this event.

WHERE: Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash. The track is located 10 miles east of Interstate 5 on Highway 18. From I-5, use Exit 142A (Auburn exit) and travel east 10 miles on Highway 18, following the signs to the track. From other points, use Highway 18 and exit S.E. 304th St. or S.E. 312th St.

COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 280 feet above sea level; Track direction is east to west.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Aug. 5-7


FRIDAY, Aug. 5- LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.


SATURDAY, Aug. 6- LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations

MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1 and 4 p.m.


SUNDAY, Aug. 7 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.

MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.



Friday, Aug. 5, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).

Sunday, Aug. 7, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at Noon (ET).

Sunday, Aug. 7, FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 4 p.m. (ET).


2015 EVENT WINNERS: J.R. Todd, Top Fuel; Tommy Johnson Jr., Funny Car; Chris McGaha, Pro Stock.

MOST VICTORIES: John Force, 8, FC; Bob Glidden, 6, PS; Joe Amato, 5, TF; Warren Johnson, 4, PS; Tony Schumacher, 4, TF.

TRACK RECORDS:            

Top Fuel – 3.727 sec. by Richie Crampton, Aug. ’15; 328.30 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15.

Funny Car – 3.912 sec. and 322.88 mph by Jack Beckman, Aug. ’15.

Pro Stock – 6.488 sec. and 213.40 mph by Chris McGaha, Aug. ’15.


Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.

Funny Car – 3.862 sec. and 335.57 mph by Matt Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.

Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.;  215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.

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Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”