Jack Beckman Sets Funny Car National Record in Sonoma
NHRA Funny Car driver Jack Beckman used his final qualifying pass on Saturday to back up Friday night's jaw-dropping 3.921-second run to set the provisional Funny Car elapsed-time national record at Sonoma Raceway.
Beckman will earn a 20-point bonus and lock in the record if he can hold onto it through the end of the event. It marks Beckman's second No. 1 of the season and 12th of his career. He will open eliminations against Tony Pedregon.
Beckman ran as a single in the final qualifying session after teammate Matt Hagan's machine broke on the starting line. Beckman powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to an impressive run of 3.958 at 318.84 mph in the heat of the day. The 3.958 gave Beckman the 1 percent back-up he needed for the record.
"I think it's bitchin' to be the quickest Funny Car driver in the world, but I want the trophy at the end of the day," Beckman said. "The national record is for the crew chiefs. If we can win tomorrow I think that's one that over time would be looked upon as domination. If you can qualify No. 1, set a national record and convert that to the trophy, that is one for the history books."
Series points leader Hagan qualified second and will race Paul Lee, while 16-time champ John Force qualified third and will face John Hale in the opener.
In other racing on Saturday, Eddie Krawiec raced to victory in the NHRA Pro Bike Battle. Krawiec, who earned $7,500 for the win in the all-star bonus race featuring the eight quickest riders from the last year, also took the No. 1 qualifying position in the two-wheel category at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. It is his second No. 1 of the season and 25th of his career.
Krawiec defeated Scotty Pollacheck and Jerry Savoie in the first two rounds of the Pro Bike Battle and claimed the win on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson when teammate Andrew Hines turned on the red-light in the final round.
"I was a little surprised that Drew red-lighted," Krawiec said. "I actually expected him to cut the Tree down. I thought he'd be .20 or better but he said he changed way he held the [clutch] lever and we know what happens when you change your routine. His bike has come around a little and so has mine."
Series points leader Krawiec, who won at Denver last week from the No. 1 qualifying position, hopes to keep his streak of successful runs going tomorrow when he opens eliminations against Angie Smith.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) also earned No. 1 qualifying positions at Sonoma Raceway and will lead their classes into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
In Top Fuel, Brown claimed his fifth No. 1 of the season and 42nd of his career with his track record performance of 3.707 at 326.95 in his Matco Tools dragster. Brown will go for his fourth win of the season in a first-round matchup with Steve Chrisman.
"The run we just made gears you up for the first round tomorrow," Brown said. "It gives you a great deal of confidence going into tomorrow, but you have to remember it's nitro and anything can happen with these cars. We have to be poised and execute the best we can to get by the first round. The car ran some great e.t.'s today, and at no point was it in trouble. I have all the confidence in the world in my team. I need to do my job to keep it in the groove and have a good reaction time. If we all work to the best of our abilities, we have a chance at winning the race tomorrow."
Dave Connolly qualified second and will race Terry McMillen and J.R. Todd will face Jenna Haddock in the three versus 14 bracket.
In Pro Stock, McGaha earned his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season with his Friday track record time of 6.499 at 212.36 in his Harlow Sammons Racing Chevy Camaro. McGaha will meet V. Gaines in round one as he remains in hot pursuit of his first career victory.
"We got a lot of data today that was very helpful because this was more like race day," McGaha said. "The weather was a bit worse so we didn't have to tone it down too much. When you make those late [night] runs on Friday, it's fun, but it's mostly throwaway information. As a rule, the Pro Stock guys are good at adapting to the track. Very seldom do we have problems unless the conditions change when we're in the lanes. That happens occasionally but we had a good handle on it today."
Defending event winner Jason Line qualified second in his Summit Racing Camaro and will race rookie Aaron Strong in the first round. Series points leader Greg Anderson, a four-time Sonoma winner, qualified third and will meet rookie Alex Laughlin in round one.
Final eliminations begin tomorrow at Sonoma Raceway at 11 a.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-7223 or visit www.racesonoma.com/nhra.