Jack Beckman No. 1 After Day One at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
CONCORD, N.C. (April 26, 2019) – Jack Beckman raced to the provisional Funny Car qualifying lead after making only one pass on Friday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. His run of 3.891 seconds at 321.42-mph claimed top honors on a day where wacky weather conditions which included rain, lightening, hail and strong winds, delayed qualifying at the opening day of the event.
After three cars attempted a qualifying pass in Q1, high winds forced NHRA officials to cancel the remainder of the session. For Jack Beckman and the Dean Antonelli/John Medlen-guided Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team, Friday’s second qualifying session under the zMAX Dragway lights was their sole opportunity to stake their claim on starting Saturday from the No. 1 spot.
“It was a strange day,” said Beckman, a 28-time Funny Car winner and 2012 series champion. “We get rain delays all the time, and that’s just part of drag racing. But today, we’re in the pits and it starts pouring; we wait, they dry it up, we warm up the car. It hails, we wait, they dry it up. We pull the car up to the staging lanes, I get suited up and strapped in, we tow up, and there’s a delay. I get out of the car, then they’re ready to go. I get strapped in the car again, and there’s another delay so we tow back to the pits, we take the cylinder heads off, lower the compression ratio and warm the thing back up again. We’ve done all this stuff and I haven’t even done a burnout yet. It’s a very odd feeling. You normally don’t work that hard and your car hasn’t even been on the race track.
“We tow up there for Q2, and no one has made a respectable run. I can tell you, at 300 feet I knew I was on a good run. That thing was stuck, it was pulling. It was the quickest 60-foot I’ve ever had. It actually had way more in it, it just wore the clutch out of it at halftrack and ended up dropping a hole. It was just on a beast of a run and it feels good as a driver to see the looks on the crew’s faces because they work just as hard whether we’re No. 1 or 19th.”
Beckman is seeking his first No. 1 qualifier of the 2019 NHRA season, and 25th of his career. With two more qualifying runs scheduled for Saturday, he feels his team is in a good position going into race day despite losing a session and a chance at all four zMAX Dragway lanes.
“I don’t think that a 3.89 will hold, but I don’t care if it holds,” said Beckman. “It gives us something to swing for. When you have low of the round, you have the luxury of swinging for the fences the next day. These guys will have to decide whether or not they want to swing at it and try to stay No. 1, or to try and get more data. The good thing is, we already have a good E.T. and we already have data. I look at it like we can’t lose tomorrow.”
Q1: Session cancelled due to inclement weather
Q2: 3.891 E.T. at 321.42 MPH
Bonus Points: Three