Jack Beckman raced his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to the Funny Car NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory Sunday at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s biggest drag race, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
In other racing, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) secured the No. 1 qualifying position in their respective categories at the 18th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Beckman ran a 3.952-second pass at 324.67 mph to defeat Robert Hight who smoked the tires to a 4.360 run at 207.11 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS. It was Beckman’s third Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory, he has never lost in the finals of the Shootout. With the win, Beckman takes home $100,000 in prize money.
“Just getting in to the Shootout is incredibly difficult,” Beckman said. “That’s what makes it exciting, there’s a big litany of ways to make your way into the field but then there’s only one way to get the trophy: You’ve got to beat three of the baddest fuel cars on the planet in one day. There’s always something that makes this Traxxas final round eventful.”
Millican piloted his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster to his second consecutive Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier, his third of the season and eighth of his career with his track elapsed time record pass of 3.663 at 329.10 on Saturday.
“I’m up here the one talking but (crew chief) David Grubnic is amazing,” Millican said. “It’s his tune up. It’s not someone else’s tune up that he’s massaging. And he’s been working on this for three years. Qualifying to me are definitely the guys that working on it and the tuners. I’ve done this for 19 years and they look and talk about things that I have no idea what they are talking about. Everybody knows their job and we all work together to help each other with their jobs.”
Millican will lineup against Kebin Kensley for first round eliminations. Following Millican is Leah Pritchett who qualified second with a 3.667 at 329.50. She will see Wayne Newby in the first round. Top Fuel NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner Steve Torrence is in third and races rookie Ashley Sanford in round one.
Hagan powered his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a 3.799 pass at 338.77 for his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season, 30th of his career and fourth at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. His run from Friday’s first qualifying session set both ends of the Lucas Oil Raceway track record.
“The U.S. Nats is a huge race,” Hagan said. “We won it last year. I guess no one has ever doubled-up and gone No. 1 twice. It’s a pretty tough stat to hear but hope we can make some history tomorrow and do that. I feel really good about the car, about the race track and what we’re doing. I think it’s going to be similar conditions for tomorrow. Today is really race day set-up and our car ran well today and kind of repeated itself both laps. So, I think it was all we could ask for so I’m pretty excited for that.”
Hagan will race Jim Campbell in the first round. In the No. 2 spot is Hight who ran a 3.807 at 333.91 to square off with Justin Schriefer in round one. Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T is qualified eighth but has clinched the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoff.
Anderson secured his 90th career Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier, third of the season and fifth at Indianapolis with the 6.561 pass at 210.11 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro from Saturday.
“We knew this afternoon was going to be very, very similar to what we are going to see tomorrow made a lot of changes to the race car and it responded perfectly. My Chevy is just happy up here, it loves this place just as much as I do. It doesn’t seem like it wants to or can make a bad run, knock on wood. I hope it’s going to be great the rest of the weekend. We’re always greedy and we always feel like we don’t make the perfect run but I’m telling you these last three runs you can’t pick much off of them.”
Anderson faces Kenny Delco in the first round. Rookie Tanner Gray is in second with his 6.566 pass at 209.88 in his Gray Motorsports / Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro. He will race Deric Kramer while Drew Skillman is third and sees veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr. in eliminations.
Krawiec secured his third Pro Stock Motorcycle No. 1 qualifier of the season, 36th of his career and second at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with his 6.822 pass at 196.62 on his Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Saturday evening.
“Fortunate for me I’ve had low elapsed time pretty much four out of the last five rounds and tied low E.T. of the first session,” Krawiec said “So, I have an awesome motorcycle going into tomorrow. And right now my main focus is just going out there keeping good reaction time, making clean laps down the drag strip. Lucas Oil Raceway has been good to me so far so hopefully its really good to me tomorrow.”
Krwaiec will face-off against Jim Underdahl in the first round of eliminations. Krawiec’s teammate, Andrew Hines, qualified second with his 6.825 pass at 194.74 on Saturday and he will race Angelle Sampey in the first round. Points leader LE Tonglet has clinched his No. 1 seed into the Countdown to the Championship after qualifying in the eighth position.
Eliminations at the 63rd annuals Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will begin at 11 a.m. Catch the action live on FOX broadcast channel beginning at 1 p.m.
TRAXXAS FUNNY CAR SHOOTOUT
ROUND ONE — Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.872, 331.77 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.000, 324.98; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.949, 309.98 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.918, 331.45; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.871, 330.55 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.911, 329.91; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.889, 332.34 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.956, 316.60;
SEMIFINALS — Hight, 3.893, 332.51 def. J. Force, 3.954, 314.24; Beckman, 4.942, 204.23 def. Capps, 5.568, 129.33;
FINAL — Beckman, 3.952, 324.67 def. Hight, 4.360, 207.11.