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Beckman Claims Another Shootout Win

| , RacinToday.com Monday, September 4 2017

Jack Beckman picked up some extra cash by winning the Funny Car Shootout at the U.S. Nationals on Sunday.

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Jack Beckman raced to his third Funny Car NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Sunday, as professional qualifying wrapped-up and ramped-up for  the 63rd edition of “The Big Go” at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. 

“Fast Jack” covered the 1,000-foot distance in 3.952-seconds at 324.67 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to defeat Robert Hight of rival John Force Racing. Hight, the 2009 world champion, smoked the tires on his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS and ran 4.360-seconds at 207.11 mph.

The 2012 world champion from Don Schumacher Racing, Beckman never has lost in a Shootout final.  “Just getting into the Shootout is incredibly difficult,” said Beckman, who earned $100,000 for the all-star win. “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. There were no ‘gimmes.’^” 

Beckman defeated DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the late Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge, in the first round and then won a tire-smoking pairing against teammate/reigning world champion Ron Capps before eliminating Hight.

The victory led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh had added meaning for DSR as it marked the first time one of Terry’s Funny Cars, which now are being funded by husband Doug Chandler, left a race with a trophy since she passed away on July 4.

“This one was for Terry,” said Antonelli, who joined with hundreds of friends for a “celebration of life” service for Terry late Friday afternoon at the track in Clemont, Ind.

Beckman noted the last time the Infinite Hero team won was at Norwalk, Ohio, about 10 days before Chandler lost her short battle with cancer. “Norwalk was the last race one of her two cars won a trophy and she was still alive,” Beckman said. “This is a good way to bookend her physical time with us. I’m still having trouble accepting we won’t see her at the track, but she will always be with us.”

DSR has won four of six Shootouts in Top Fuel, although Steve Torrence took the title Saturday, and three of six in Funny Car with Beckman claiming the honor each time in the specialty event.

In other racing Sunday, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) secured No. 1 qualifying positions in their respective categories at the 18th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. 

Millican wheeled his Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster to his second consecutive U.S. Nats Top Fuel pole, his third of the season and eighth of his career with a 1,000-foot track elapsed time record pass of 3.663-seconds at 329.10 mph from Saturday.

“I’m up here the one talking but (crew chief) David Grubnic is amazing,” Millican said of the former Top Fuel ace. “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, is definitely the guys that work 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’re talking about. Everybody knows their job and we all work together to help each other with their jobs.”

Millican will line up against Kebin Kensley for Monday’s opening round of eliminations. DSR’s Leah Pritchett qualified second with a 3.667-second pass at 329.50 mph. She will race Wayne Newby in the opening round. Torrence qualfied third and will race rookie Ashley Sanford in Round 1.

Hagan powered his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a 3.799-second pass at 338.77 mph for his fourth pole of the season, 30th of his career and fourth at the 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,” said Hagan, a two-time world champ. “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 and do that. I feel really good about the car, about the racetrack and what we’re doing. I think it’s going to be similar conditions (on Monday). Today is really race day set-up and our car ran well and kind of repeated itself both laps. I think it was all we could ask for; I’m pretty excited for that.”

Hagan will race Jim Campbell in the opening round. Hight, who qualified second at 3.807-seconds and 333.91 mph, will open vs. Justin Schriefer in Round 1. Capps, driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T, qualified eighth but has clinched the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship. NHRA’s six-race playoff season will begin with the 10th annual Carolina NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., Sept. 15-17.

Anderson secured his 90th career Pro Stock pole, third of the season and fifth at the U.S. Nats with a quarter-mile pass in  6.561-seconds  at 210.11 mph 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 (Monday), made a lot of changes to the race car and it responded perfectly,” said Anderson, the four-time world champion from Ken Black Racing. “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 will race veteran independent Chevrolet campaigner Kenny Delco in the opening round. Rookie Tanner Gray qualfied second with a 6.566-second pass at 209.88 mph in his Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Camaro. He will race Deric Kramer, while No. 3 qualifier Drew Skillman is paired against five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr.

Krawiec secured his third Pro Stock Motorcycle pole of the season, 36th of his career and second at the U.S. Nationals with a quarter-mile pass in 6.822-seconds at 196.62 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod from 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,” said Krawiec, a three-time world champion. “So, I have an awesome motorcycle going into tomorrow. 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 (Monday).”

Krwaiec will face-off against Jim Underdahl and his Suzuki in the opening round. Krawiec’s H-D teammate, five-time world champion Andrew Hines, qualified second with a 6.825-second pass at 194.74 mph from Saturday and will race three-time world champion Angelle Sampey and her Victory in the first round. Point-leader LE Tonglet, the 2010 world champ, has clinched the No. 1 seed into the Countdown after qualifying eighth aboard his Suzuki.

Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (ET). Live finals coverage will open on FOX Sports 1 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and continue on the FOX network from 1-4 p.m.

Final round-by-round results from the sixth annual Funny Car NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout from the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis:

ROUND ONE _ Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.872-seconds, 331.77 mph 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.

Monday’s first-round elimination pairings for the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Sunday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Clay Millican, 3.663-seconds, 329.10 mph vs. 16. Kebin Kinsley, 3.808, 319.29; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.667, 329.50 vs. 15. Wayne Newby, 3.795, 321.88; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.673, 329.50 vs. 14. Ashley Sanford, 3.775, 322.04; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.680, 330.31 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.770, 321.81; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.682, 329.58 vs. 12. Richie Crampton, 3.756, 329.91; 6. Antron Brown, 3.689, 329.91 vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.754, 328.54; 7. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.719, 325.30 vs. 10. Pat Dakin, 3.752, 311.49; 8. Brittany Force, 3.734, 330.23 vs. 9. Shawn Langdon, 3.748, 289.82. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Ike Maier, 3.861, 311.27; 18. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.970, 292.33.

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.799, 338.77 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.060, 317.94; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.807, 336.23 vs. 15. Justin Schriefer, Charger, 4.033, 313.95; 3. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.837, 334.90 vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.015, 305.70; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.849, 336.74 vs. 13. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.999, 320.81; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.859, 333.16 vs. 12. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.988, 324.98; 6. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.865, 332.34 vs. 11. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 3.924, 296.44; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.865, 329.83 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.902, 330.23; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.871, 330.55 vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.881, 332.02.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.118, 305.01; 18. Bob Bode, 4.983, 158.26.

Pro Stock _ 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.561, 210.64 vs. 16. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.661, 208.68; 2. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.566, 209.88 vs. 15. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 6.628, 207.21; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.570, 210.18 vs. 14. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.625, 209.20; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.572, 210.34 vs. 13. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.615, 209.46; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.576, 210.01 vs. 12. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.607, 209.17; 6. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.577, 209.95 vs. 11. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.604, 209.10; 7. Johnny Gray, Camaro, 6.596, 210.11 vs. 10. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.601, 209.43; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62 vs. 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.599, 209.65. 

Did Not Qualify _17. Shane Tucker, 6.668, 206.89; 18. John Gaydosh Jr., 6.681, 207.24; 19. Larry Morgan, 6.684, 207.75; 20. Alan Prusiensky, 6.724, 206.20.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.822, 196.70 vs. 16. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.984, 191.67; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.825, 196.02 vs. 15. Angelle Sampey, Victory, 6.944, 192.06; 3. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.840, 196.16 vs. 14. Cory Reed, Victory, 6.941, 189.02; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.840, 196.02 vs. 13. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.940, 191.81; 5. Chip Ellis, Victory, 6.848, 194.66 vs. 12. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.936, 190.30; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.862, 194.55 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.932, 192.60; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.864, 194.72 vs. 10. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.914, 193.93; 8. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.876, 195.96 vs. 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.897, 192.82. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Ryan Oehler, 7.026, 189.84; 18. Mark Paquette, 7.061, 187.31; 19. Lance Bonham, 7.347, 184.35; 20. Odolph Daniels, 7.444, 174.68; 21. Wendell Daniels, 7.605, 171.29; 22. Andie Rawlings, 7.917, 169.51.

Top qualifier Mike Castellana was upset by No. 16 qualifier Danny Rowe during the first round of eliminations at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by JEGS.com, is the ninth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.

Castellana’s Friday night track elapsed-time record 5.709-second pass at 252.52 mph in the Al-Anabi Racing Chevrolet Camaro secured his third pole of the season. But Rowe laid down a 5.851-second pass at 247.88 mph in his 2016 Chevrolet Corvette to defeat Castellana’s 6.177-second pass at 183.62 mph in Round 1.

“It was awesome. It was a great run,” said Rowe, a resident of Laguna Hills, Calif. “Mike and the whole crew over there did an unbelievable job; they should be really proud. But this is racing. We don’t race on paper, we all go out there and do our best. We didn’t know if we could run with him, but we were going to go down the best we could and that’s what we did. The car went down and we were able to get around him. It’s exciting _ the entire team is excited. It’s been a long time since we started going rounds and a great place to start turning around your program is Indy.”

Rowe will take on Richie Stevens, husband of two-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders, in the second round on Monday. Troy Coughlin, who set the track speed record in qualifying, defeated Jim Whiteley in the opening round and will face Johnny Gray, uncle of rookie Pro Stock standout Tanner Gray, in Round 2.

Eliminations in Pro Mod continue Monday at noon (ET), approximately.

First-round Pro Mod results from the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis:

ROUND ONE _ Richie Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 5.829-seconds, 248.39 mph def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.877, 248.29; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.837, 249.07 def. Harry Hruska, Camaro, 7.035, 188.75; Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.808, 257.24 def. Jim Whiteley, Camaro, 5.842, 249.44; Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.778, 257.78 def. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 7.503, 131.97; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.847, 248.43 def. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.836, 247.20; Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 10.812, 92.13 def. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, Foul/Red Light; Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.807, 253.99 def. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.812, 248.39; Danny Rowe, Corvette, 5.851, 247.88 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.177, 183.62. 

| , RacinToday.com Monday, September 4 2017
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