Beckman Fires Off 3.912 to Qualify No. 1; Crampton and McGaha Also Low
Jack Beckman ran the quickest Funny Car pass in NHRA history for the second consecutive weekend, claiming the No. 1 qualifying position at the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) will also start in the top spots in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle, the final of three events in the NHRA Western Swing.
Beckman piloted his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to a jaw-dropping track record performance of 3.912 seconds at 322.88 mph to claim his third No. 1 of the season and 13th of his career.
Beckman can certify the performance as an NHRA national record by posting another elapsed time within one percent of the 3.912 during the remainder of the weekend. The current national record of 3.921 seconds was set by Beckman last weekend in Sonoma, Calif. He will meet Terry Haddock in the first round of Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations.
“It’s just a wonderful feeling,” said Beckman, who can become the second Funny Car driver and eighth driver overall to sweep the NHRA Western Swing with a victory on Sunday. “When you are a kid you dream for that moment of greatness but the reality is very few get to do it at the top level. I’ve had a lot of success in my career and a lot of phenomenal crew chiefs.”
Del Worsham qualified second in the DHL Toyota Camry with a 3.984 at 298.54 and will face John Hale in round one. John Force qualified third and faces a matchup with Jeff Diehl. Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force will face off in the first round in a critical matchup that has Countdown to the Championship playoff implications. DeJoria currently sits in the 10th and final clinching spot, while Force is 11th with just three races remaining before the cutoff.
In Top Fuel, Crampton ran a track record 3.727 at 323.50 in his Lucas Oil dragster to claim his first No. 1 starting spot of the season and second of his career. Crampton, the defending Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner, is looking for his fourth win of the season and sixth of his career.
“We started the year and had some rough points, but we’re trying to peak at the right time and finish the Western Swing strong,” said Crampton, who will open eliminations against Ron Smith. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but we can’t do much better than we did today. We’ve struggled, but it’s a credit to Aaron [Brooks, crew chief] and the rest of the Lucas team. They put in the hours to get it right.”
Tony Schumacher qualified second in the U.S. Army dragster with a 3.737 at 288.33. He will battle Jenna Haddock in the first round. Schumacher and Haddock have matched up four times in the past with Haddock winning her first career round of competition against the eight-time and defending world champ.
Dave Connolly, Friday’s top qualifier, will race as the No. 3 seed in a pairing with Terry McMillen. Brittany Force had a strong day in qualifying, earning the No. 4 spot and a first round matchup with Troy Buff. Defending race winner Doug Kalitta struggled during all four sessions and will face No. 5 seed Larry Dixon in the first round.
McGaha claimed the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock following his 6.501 at 212.86 in his Harlow Sammons Racing Chevy Camaro. McGaha tied the elapsed time of Friday’s top qualifier Jeg Coughlin but secured the top spot via his faster speed. This is McGaha’s fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season, second-in-a-row and seventh of his career. McGaha, who claimed his first career victory last weekend at Sonoma, will race Joey Grose in the first round.
“I honestly thought somebody would go faster than us just then, even though I knew we made a good run,” McGaha said. “We swung, so I was just sure that somebody else who went fast yesterday was going to swing for it, too. Maybe we really did mess up bad yesterday; maybe we could have run a .49. It’s hard to say at this point. [However], we have lots of momentum and confidence going right now.”
Coughlin qualified second with a 6.501 at 212.59 in the Stockseth Racing/Elite Motorsports/JEGS.com Chevy Camaro. The five-time world champ is racing a limited schedule this season and will face local favorite Aaron Strong in the first round. Jonathan Gray will start third and race Deric Kramer. Four-time world champ and four-time season winner Greg Anderson qualified fourth, securing a first round pairing with V Gaines. Defending world champ Erica Enders qualified seventh and will face Bo Butner.