Beckman Makes Most of His Run In The Sun

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 27 2018

Jack Beckman posted the fastest Funny Car pass Friday in Las Vegas.


“Fast” Jack Beckman adapted to a very non-traditional Friday qualifying schedule to take the provisional lead in Funny Car after the opening two rounds of time trials for the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

The 2012 world champion for Don Schumacher Racing, Beckman covered the 1,000-foot distance in 3.922-seconds at 327.19-mph during Q1. Friday’s schedule was unusual in that both qualifying sessions were contested during the middle of the day, rather than the typical late afternoon/Friday night format. With two more mid-day qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday, teams will have the unique advantage of collecting “race day” data from four rounds, all of which could be useful when determining Sunday tune-ups.

“This is the first time that I can recall in recent memory that we’ve run this early on Friday,” said Beckman, a three-time pole-winner in Vegas. “What happens is Q1 always sets the run order for Q2, and Q2 sets the qualifying order. We knew that probably wasn’t going to be the case here.

“In fact, for Funny Cars, our first session had slightly better track conditions than the second one, so it was really unusual to see and expect that what you ran right off the trailer was as good as what you were going to see on a Friday, and that’s nail-biting time for the crew chiefs. They’ve got to make an educated guess and recognize that if you squander it on the first one, you probably won’t improve on the second session. I’m very happy with the amount of data research that (crew chiefs) Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh were able to do.”

Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also are provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fifth of six playoff events during the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship. 

“Night runs are for the fans. Night runs are not for the crew chiefs; they’re not for the drivers,” said Beckman, driver of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.Night runs are there because they’re just bitchin’ to watch, quite frankly, but you don’t learn a thing that’s going to help you on race day. The benefit of running early on Friday here is that all four of our qualifying runs will be representative of the conditions we’ll see on Sunday. It should mean that every crew chief has at least one run more, or 25 percent more data, than we would typically have going into race day.”

Beckman’s team is seeking its second No. 1 starting position of the season. Beckman started on-pole at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., earlier in the year and went on to win the prestigious event.

“We’re not where we wanted to be. We’re out of the championship race this year,” Beckman said. ”Realistically, our goal is to get into the top-five. There’s still two (Wally) trophies up for grabs, but I’m happy with the fact that no one’s dragging their chins over our season. It’s so gratifying to know that every time I drive into the racetrack on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday that I have a car that’s capable of winning or running better than everyone else, and we proved that today.”

Point-leader Robert Hight, the two-time/reigning world champ from John Force Racing, currently is third with his run of 3.927-seconds at 328.38 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS. Teammate Courtney Force is second at 3.926 and 328.46.  

Millican leads Top Fuel following his second-round 1,000-foot run of 3.699-seconds at 327.82. Millican trails championship leader Steve Torrence and his Torrence Racing team by 169 points/eight-plus rounds of racing.

“We’re having a heck of a year,” said Millican, acknowledging that his title hopes are fading. “We definitely want to finish as high as we possibly can. That’s my goal. Whatever that position I want it to be as high as it can. If it’s second place, it’s second place, as that is my career-best point finish in NHRA.”

Torrence _ who has not lost a round of racing during the playoffs _ sits second after the first day of qualifying with a run of 3.738 and 324.67. Reigning world champion Brittany Force is third with her run of 3.747 at 328.94. 

Anderson leads Pro Stock following his quarter-mile run of 6.638-seconds at 205.57 mph in his red  Chevrolet Camaro SS. Anderson has nine poles this season in his bid for a fifth world championship. 

“My Summit Chevy loves this racetrack,” Anderson said. “We won here last year, we qualified No. 1 last year and we’re ready to do it again. I feel great about it. Last week was good; Jason Line (Ken Black Racing teammate) got the job done with the win (at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.) and is off to a good start this weekend.”

Point-leader Tanner Gray is 11th with a run of 6.669-seconds at 206.32 mph in a Camaro.

Krawiec moved into the No. 1 position in Pro Stock Motorcycle during the second session with his quarter-mile blast of 6.859-seconds at 196.65 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Third in the championship battle, Krawiec earned five bonus points in the two sessions.

“It was great to come off the truck with a good, solid run and collect some little points,” said Krawiec, the four-time/reigning world champion. “With the points battle that is going on with the top three guys in the category it’s going to be tough. There is no easy round out here, you need every point you can get. I’ve won championships with minimal points and lost them by as much as two and I know how valuable they are.”

Hector Arana Jr. is second with a run of 6.863 at 195.93 aboard his Lucas Oil EBR, with father/2009 world champion Hector Sr. in third at 6.822 and 196.24 on his EBR. Point-leader Matt Smith, a two-time world champ, sits seventh following his best run of 6.936 at 195.34 aboard his Smith Racing EBR heading into Saturday’s final two rounds of qualifying.

FOX Sports 1 will air 90 minutes of qualifying on “NHRA Saturday Nitro Live” starting at 5 p.m. (EDT). FS1 will carry one hour of qualifying on “NHRA Sunday Live” at 3:30 p.m.  before resuming coverage with three hours of final eliminations at 7 p.m.


Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and Round 5 of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Clay Millican, 3.699-seconds, 327.82 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.738, 324.67; 3. Brittany Force, 3.747, 328.94; 4. Antron Brown, 3.766, 324.28; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.772, 330.15; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.781, 319.52; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.790, 321.50; 8. Billy Torrence, 3.799, 325.30; 9. Richie Crampton, 3.799, 318.39; 10. Troy Buff, 3.804, 308.57; 11. Scott Palmer, 3.814, 326.63; 12. Blake Alexander, 3.815, 323.66; 13. Terry Haddock, 4.018, 295.21; 14. Shawn Reed, 4.219, 207.40; 15. Mike Salinas, 4.415, 179.66; 16. Terry McMillen, 4.726, 159.82.

Not Qualified _17. Greg Carrillo, 6.878, 83.75.

Funny Car _ 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.922, 327.19; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.926, 328.46; 3. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.927, 328.38; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.928, 324.28; 5. John Force, Camaro, 3.939, 330.23; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.961, 320.28; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.968, 323.04; 8. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.969, 321.27; 9. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.970, 319.52; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.009, 323.58; 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.022, 320.13; 12. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.050, 314.24; 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.054, 312.06; 14. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.060, 308.50; 15. Bob Bode, Mustang, 4.253, 265.74; 16. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.301, 225.33.

Not Qualified _ 17. Gary Densham, 4.415, 202.55; 18. Jeff Arend, 5.828, 117.89.

Pro Stock _1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.638, 205.57; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.641, 206.64; 3. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.641, 205.88; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.642, 207.08; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.644, 207.75; 6. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.645, 205.44; 7. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.648, 206.95; 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.648, 206.42; 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.653, 203.89; 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.656, 207.59; 11. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.669, 206.32; 12. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.672, 206.61; 13. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.675, 205.44; 14. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.686, 206.26; 15. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.693, 204.29; 16. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.742, 204.08.

Not Qualified _ 17. Val Smeland, 6.829, 202.70; 18. Tom Huggins, 6.848, 201.82; 19. Joey Grose, 6.894, 199.79.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.859, 195.65; 2. Hector Arana Jr., EBR, 6.863, 195.93; 3. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.882, 196.24; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 193.43; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.926, 189.39; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.931, 194.32; 7. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.936, 195.34; 8. Chip Ellis, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 193.24; 9. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.949, 191.05; 10. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.956, 190.78; 11. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.965, 194.32; 12. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.969, 190.11; 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.972, 190.97; 14. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.990, 194.27; 15. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.992, 188.49; 16. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.000, 192.74.

Not Qualified _17. Freddie Camarena, 7.040, 191.57; 18. Ron Tornow, 7.071, 188.02; 19. Cory Reed, 7.134, 190.83; 20. Maurice Allen, 7.230, 184.50; 21. Anthony Vanetti, 7.271, 184.62; 22. Karen Stoffer, 8.130, 117.21.

Mike Castellana powered to the provisional pole at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the NHRA Toyota Nationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Trask Performance, is the season-ending event.

Castellana covered the quarter-mile in 5.744-seconds at 252.10 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro.  “My team would like to get a win in this year,” Castellana said. “So far we’re on the right track and hopefully we can keep that up tomorrow and all day Sunday.”

Rick Hord is second with his pass of 5.749 at 253.33 in his Chevy Corvette. Point-leader Mike Janis is fourth at 5.787 and 247.88 in his Camaro. Rickie Smith, second in the championship battle, is ninth following his 5.814-second pass at 247.43 mph in his Camaro.

Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 12th and final event in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Pro Modified _ 1. Mike Castellana, Chevy Camaro, 5.744, 252.10; 2. Rick Hord, Chevy Corvette, 5.749, 253.33; 3. Sidnei Frigo, Camaro, 5.769, 256.99; 4. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.787, 247.88; 5. Jeremy Ray, Corvette, 5.787, 247.29; 6. Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 5.797, 256.50; 7. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 5.799, 251.06; 8. Michael Biehle, Ford Mustang, 5.808, 254.95; 9. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.814, 247.43; 10. Chad Green, Corvette, 5.827, 245.23; 11. Marc Caruso, Camaro, 5.849, 245.23; 12. Clint Satterfield, Camaro, 5.851, 248.39; 13. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.861, 243.50; 14. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.862, 247.66; 15. Jim Whiteley, Camaro, 5.863, 245.63; 16. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.894, 243.63.

Not Qualified _17. Steve Jackson, 5.894, 241.41; 18. Scott Oksas, 5.910, 238.60; 19. Doug Winters, 5.946, 241.11; 20. Harry Hruska, 5.985, 249.63; 21. Shane Molinari, 6.736, 205.82; 22. Brandon Snider, 7.417, 133.42; 23. Danny Rowe, 7.431, 134.71; 24. Todd Tutterow, 10.910, 81.43; 25. Chip King, 11.323, 95.88. 




| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 27 2018
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