Usually when the NHRA hits the road for three straight weeks during the hot summer months, records are not expected to be broken, but this has been one of those seasons where anything can happen at any time.
Funny Car ace Jack Beckman and team made sure of that this past weekend by capturing the NHRA national elapsed time record for Funny Car eliminator with a blistering 3.921 at 323.43 miles per hour. Beckman later came out in the heat of the day to shock everybody with a scintillating 3.958 to back up his record run by the NHRA-mandated one percent. This is the third time in Beckman’s career that he’s held the national record and give him an series-leading total of fifteen runs in the three-second range since Funny Car’s move to the 1,000-foot mark.
“It’s nice to be the quickest Funny Car driver ever, but I’d trade that for winning the trophy tomorrow,” said Beckman after qualifying. He’s won two of the past three NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events and his win at Denver was his career-best fourth in a single season.
In the first two rounds of eliminations, Beckman flexed his muscles even more as crew chief Jimmy Prock and assistants John Medlen and Chris Cunningham loaded the Infinite Hero Dodge for bear and unloaded two more three second runs (3.993 and 3.979) to defeat Tony Pedregon and Chad Head, respectively. Don Schumacher’s brain trust tuned it down and adjusted to changing track conditions for the semi-finals against John Force Racing’s Robert Hight, with ‘Fast’ Jack going to the finals with a 4.037 over Hight’s 4.095.
Beckman faced off with Team DSR teammate, Tommy Johnson, Jr., in the final round, where Johnson took a slight reaction time advantage (.061 to .068) but Beckman repeated his semi-final run of a 4.037 at 310 miles per hour to sneak around Johnson, Jr.’s 4.073 to claim his fifth Wally of the season and capture the second leg of the Western Swing.
The NHRA Northwest Nationals kick off on August 7th at Pacific Raceways in the great northwest in Seattle, Washington for the 28th time in the scenic dragstrip’s history. Can Beckman pull out the brooms and go three in a row on the Western Swing like many have done before him or will somebody stop the reign of power held by the new National E.T. Record Holder in Funny Car?
Photos and Video Courtesy of NHRA