NHRA Heads to Sonoma for Second Stop of Western Swing
NHRA Funny Car driver Jack Beckman currently sits second in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing points, and he heads to Sonoma Raceway on a roll after posting his fourth victory of the year on Sunday.
This weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals marks the second stop on the NHRA's famed Western Swing, which kicked off last weekend at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. Beckman, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) each claimed victories in Denver on Sunday and will look for their chance to sweep the three-race Western Swing.
Beckman, who is looking for his first win in Sonoma, powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the win for the fourth time this year with a 4.190-second performance at 293.92 mph, beating John Force in the final. Beckman, the 2012 world champ, has 19 career victories, putting him tenth on the all-time wins list in Funny Car.
"(My crew chief) Jimmy Prock intimidates the other crew chiefs," said Beckman. "He'll force them to do things they may not be comfortable with. Last year, I was 0-6 against JFR, so I figured I had paid my dues. To do it in the final round today, when they really had the better car throughout the weekend — to beat the No. 1 qualifier, the winningest driver of all time — this is just a perfect weekend."
Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher fell to Torrence in the final round in Denver, but he tops the standings with three victories and three runner-up finishes so far this year. He heads into Sonoma with an 85-point advantage over teammate Antron Brown. Brown has three Sonoma victories (2009, '11, '12), while Schumacher has two ('07, '08).
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson holds a narrow 37-point lead over Erica Enders in the standings. Anderson and Enders have each earned four victories so far this season. Jason Line, the defending Sonoma Pro Stock champion, sits third in points.
Krawiec, the Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader, raced to his 28th career victory in Pro Stock Motorcycle on Sunday, becoming the sixth different winner in seven races in the competitive class. He enters Sonoma with a 36-point advantage over Hector Arana Jr. and 91 points over teammate Andrew Hines.
"Six different winners in seven races says a lot for our class; I don't think we've had any better racing than we've had this year in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and I'm excited to be a part of it," said Krawiec, who is a two-time and defending Sonoma winner. "We've had a humbling year. It's taken a lot of hard work and a lot of digging to get to where we are. I've always had a dominant motorcycle, but we've struggled, and that's not the way we expected this year to go."
Action gets under way in Sonoma on Friday with two rounds of pro qualifying at 4:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Final qualifying takes place on Saturday (1:10 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.), with final eliminations set for Sunday at 11 a.m. (all times Pacific). The weekend will also feature the race-within-a-race NHRA Pro Bike Battle on Saturday.
For tickets to this weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals, visit racesonoma.com/nhra or call 800-870-7223.