Funny Car title contender Jack Beckman set a national record en route to his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
David Grubnic (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fourth of six playoff events in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
We want to win the championship.
"We want to win the championship,” said Beckman, who will face Mike Smith in the opening round of eliminations. “Some people would tell you they want to win at all costs and I’m not one of those people. We want to win because we did everything right out there and we want the other cars to be at their prime. We’d like to do it the right way.”
Cruz Pedregon was second with a performance of 3.997 at 320.58 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry while Mike Neff was third in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang with a 4.017 at 318.84. Points leader Capps will start eighth in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger after qualifying with a performance of 4.055 at 317.64. Countdown contender Tim Wilkerson, who had charged from 10th to fifth in the points standings during the first three playoff races, failed to qualify for eliminations in his Levi Ray & Shoup Shelby Ford Mustang.
“It’s good to be back in the No. 1 spot,” Grubnic said. “When I started with Connie [Kalitta] in 2004, we were No. 1 qualifier five times that year, and so it’s great to be back in that position. Not only that, but [teammate] Doug Kalitta running 331 miles per hour side-by-side with me. It’s great for the team, great for Connie, great for all the guys that work on the car, and great for our sponsors.”
Morgan Lucas, who qualified second with a 3.733-second effort in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster, set the Top Fuel national elapsed time record on that run. Series points leader Antron Brown was 11th in his Matco Tools dragster with a 3.758 at 325.14 while Spencer Massey, currently second in the standings, was eighth with a 3.763 at 321.12. Four-time Maple Grove winner Tony Schumacher qualified third in the U.S. Army dragster with a 3.736 at 325.14.
“Tomorrow should be interesting, and fun to watch,” Line said. “Especially if it’s cold out and we could set a new national record. Those 20 points could really come in handy.”
Pro Stock points leader Allen Johnson was sixth with a 6.545 at 211.49 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger and title challenger and St. Louis winner Erica Enders was second in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt with a 6.538 at 211.30.
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Eddie Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to his fourth No. 1 of the season with a performance of 6.821 at 196.19, bringing his career total to 13.
Krawiec’s teammate Andrew Hines was second on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a 6.824 at 195.85, while the father and son Lucas Oil Buell duo of Hector Arana Sr. and Hector Arana Jr. head into eliminations third and fourth.