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Beckman Sets ET Record En Route To Gatornationals Pole

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2016
Jack Beckman notched a record pass in Gainesville on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Jack Beckman notched a record pass in Gainesville on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Morning rain delayed the start of Saturday’s qualifying for the 47th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, and it paid off in record-smashing fashion for Jack Beckman.

“Fast Jack” began the fourth and final session at Gainesville Raceway on the provisional pole and was in the last pair of Funny Cars to go down the Florida track Saturday evening. Beckman posted a 1,000-foot pass of 3.879-seconds at 329.26 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to reset the elapsed time national record. That time also is a track record. The 2012 world champion, Beckman now has 17 poles in his career and two in 2016.

Beckman, who will open eliminations Sunday against Jeff Diehl, is hoping to turn his first Gainesville pole into his first win at the historic East Coast facility.

“I’m always excited to come here,” Beckman said. “This place was setting records long before I ever came out here when I was reading about it in National Dragster. Driving for (crew chief) Jimmy Prock, we can set records most places we go.” In addition to Prock, Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing crew includes assistant crew chiefs John Medlen and Chris Cunningham.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Beckman added. “That’s two-of-four runs on this car since our (fabrication) shop front-halved the chassis. I knew our (3.913) Friday night could have been quicker and we showed that tonight.”

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged as No. 1 qualifiers heading into Sunday’s eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. (EDT). Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will air a three-hour live telecast starting at 1 p.m. (EDT).

Courtney Force qualified second in her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS with a 3.893-second pass at 322.96 mph. Force will open eliminations against Dave Richards, who is making his season debut in the Prestige Corporate Ford Shelby Mustang. Force’s John Force Racing teammate, 2009 world champion Robert Hight, pushed his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS to a 3.921-second pass at 327.43 mph to qualify third. Hight will face Terry Haddock in Sunday’s first round.

Phoenix winner Tim Wilkerson will enter eliminations as the fourth qualifier and race two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon. Pomona winner Ron Capps is fifth and will meet John Hale in the opener.

Crampton powered his Lucas Oil dragster to the fifth-quickest Top Fuel pass in NHRA history with a 1,000-foot run in 3.698-seconds at 317.42 mph to earn his first pole of 2016, fourth of his career and first at Gainesville Raceway. Crampton, a native of South Australia, will open Sunday’s eliminations against legendary independent campaigner Chris “The Greek” Karamesines.

“We struggled a bit (Friday) and we were looking forward to the overcast conditions today because we didn’t know what (crew chief) Aaron Brooks could do when the weather was like that, with a cool track temperature,” said Crampton, the 2014 Rookie of the Year. “To do what we did in the first qualifying session today and then run a 3.6 was very cool. Hats off to Aaron Brooks and my Lucas Oil guys.”

Clay Millican raced to a 3.722-second pass at 326.71 mph in his Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster to qualify second. Millican, runnerup at Gainesville Raceway in 2013, will face Ike Maier in Sunday’s first round.

Antron Brown, the two-time/reigning Top Fuel world champion, pushed his Matco Tools dragster into the No. 3 spot at 3.729-seconds and 318.54 mph. The 2013 Gator Nats event-winner will battle Terry McMillen in the opening round.

Phoenix winner Leah Pritchett is fourth and will meet Tripp Tatum in the first round, while Phoenix runnerup Brittany Force is fifth and will race Morgan Lucas.

In Pro Stock, Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS to the pole with a quarter-mile run in 6.584-seconds at 208.84 mph. Line, riding momentum from his win in Phoenix, has 42 poles in his career. After a first round bye because of a 15-car field, Line will meet the winner of Shane Gray vs. Vincent Nobile in Round 2.

“We made good runs,” said Line, a two-time world champion and four-time Gators winner. “We struggled a little bit with the race car but my Summit hot rod is pretty fast right now. My car has been very good and that’s probably one of the reasons she’s been a little faster than everybody else’s. We fell a little bit short but still had very good runs today and I’m very happy about that.”

Line’s Ken Black Racing teammate, Bo Butner, pushed his Jim Butner Auto Camaro into the No. 2 spot at  6.591-seconds and 209.26 mph. Butner will open eliminations against V. Gaines. Greg Anderson, a four-time world champion and another member of the Ken Black Racing team, qualified third at 6.595-seconds and 209.65 mph. The defending event winner will go up against Matt Hartford Sunday.

Krawiec posted a quarter-mile pass of 6.801-seconds at 196.42 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod to become the No. 1 qualifier at the first of 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events in 2016. Krawiec has 28 poles in his career, including two at Gainesville Raceway. He has won this event three times and was the event runnerup one year ago. Krawiec will face Michael Phillips in the first round of eliminations after a long offseason.

“You want to get back on that motorcycle,” said Krawiec, a three-time world champion for H-D. “Definitely wanted to come out here to Gainesville, blow the dust off, get the cobwebs behind me and start moving forward. The key (Friday) was making a good lap off the trailer and setting the tone for the weekend. Anybody could win. Every round is important and every round you have to do your best.”

Hector Arana, the 2009 world champion, qualified second at 6.821-seconds and 197.10 mph aboard his Lucas Oil Buell and will go up against Mike Berry Sunday. Chip Ellis posted a 6.829-second run at 195.34 mph aboard his Junior Pippin Trucking Company Buell to qualify third. Ellis will battle Hector Arana Jr. in the first round.

Five-time/reigning world champion Andrew Hines pushed his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson into fourth place and will begin eliminations against Angie Smith.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 47th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, the third of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel _ 1. Richie Crampton, 3.698-seconds, 319.37 mph vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, broke; 2. Clay Millican, 3.722, 326.71 vs. 15. Ike Maier, 3.937, 301.00; 3. Antron Brown, 3.729, 319.07 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.895, 308.57; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.744, 325.69 vs. 13. Tripp Tatum, 3.862, 317.05; 5. Brittany Force, 3.745, 320.81 vs. 12. Morgan Lucas, 3.810, 315.64; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.754, 315.12 vs. 11. Shawn Langdon, 3.783, 318.84; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.757, 325.22 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, 3.779, 323.35; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.761, 324.05 vs. 9. Dave Connolly, 3.762, 325.45.

Funny Car _ 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.879, 329.26 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 11.122, 83.59; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.893, 322.96 vs. 15. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 7.160, 195.68; 3. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.921, 327.43 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, Solara, 6.288, 161.32; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.928, 321.65 vs. 13. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 5.143, 146.42; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.929, 321.27 vs. 12. John Hale, Charger, 4.170, 290.19; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.953, 323.74 vs. 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.041, 314.61; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.957, 321.04 vs. 10. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.016, 307.65; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.958, 320.28 vs. 9. John Force, Camaro, 3.996, 299.20.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.584, 210.44 vs. Bye; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.591, 209.33 vs. 15. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.724, 206.01; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.595, 209.65 vs. 14. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.685, 208.17; 4. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.614, 209.04 vs. 13. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.663, 207.91; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.616, 208.94 vs. 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.651, 208.17; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.627, 208.30 vs. 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.644, 208.46; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.628, 207.91 vs. 10. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.636, 208.33; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.631, 208.17 vs. 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.632, 208.62.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.801, 197.71 vs. 16. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.938, 194.49; 2. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.821, 197.10 vs. 15. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.937, 190.11; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.829, 195.34 vs. 14. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.917, 194.13; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 194.94 vs. 13. Angie Smith, Victory, 6.914, 192.85; 5. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.847, 195.70 vs. 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.907, 197.22; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.850, 196.04 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.901, 193.65; 7. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.853, 194.86 vs. 10. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.885, 196.47; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.862, 195.82 vs. 9. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.868, 196.62.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Matt Smith, 6.942, 193.71; 18. Cory Reed, 6.950, 191.40; 19. Shawn Gann, 6.965, 190.59; 20. Kalle Lyren, 6.967, 193.21; 21. Karen Stoffer, 6.968, 193.63; 22. Joe DeSantis, 6.978, 192.58; 23. Brian Pretzel, 7.017, 193.90; 24. David Hope, 7.058, 188.86; 25. Katie Sullivan, 7.136, 187.26; 26. Lance Bonham, 7.212, 187.21.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2016
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