Reading: Frank Hawley final report

Hawley, Rite Aid Funny Car Team Finish surprising second at Reading Frank Hawley and the Rite Aid Pharmacies Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team almost pulled the upset of the NHRA season Sunday when he came close to winning the Toyo Tires...

Hawley, Rite Aid Funny Car Team Finish surprising second at Reading

Frank Hawley and the Rite Aid Pharmacies Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team almost pulled the upset of the NHRA season Sunday when he came close to winning the Toyo Tires Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

As it was, the team reaching the finals against Jack Beckman was very impressive. This was their fourth race of the season, their first race in two months and their first with Rite Aid. It wasn't a fluke. Hawley qualified second with a 4.128-second time.

A two-time Funny Car series champion (1982-83), Hawley began eliminations by defeating his teammate, Melanie Troxel (4.355 seconds, 247.57 mph to 4.670 at 214.66), reigning Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon (4.211, 289.76 to 4.223 at 288.95) and Mike Neff (4.237 at 284.39 to 4.294 at 276.75) before squaring off against Beckman.

The owner of Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, Hawley had not been to a final Funny Car round since 1984 but he showed no rust against Beckman, who has worked for Hawley's school for 12 years. Hawley's car spun the tires and slowed to 6.697 at 95.08 mph and Beckman won with a 4.183 at 291.57.

"Team owner Roger Burgess owns two race car teams and between them they some of the most-talented people in the sport," Hawley commented. "We have a lot of them. The idea of us coming out and running really well wasn't unthinkable. We certainly have the equipment and the people to run really well. The fact they were sitting around for a while and they were able to do that, I think, is impressive."

Crew chief Aaron Brooks made the tuning calls and Rod Centorbi is the assistant crew chief.

"The final with Jack was a lot of fun," added Hawley. "Over the years we have developed a personal, aside from a business, relationship. I said in the semifinals I don't like to lose to anybody, but if I lose to anybody, I wouldn't mind losing to Jack.

"But I told Jack after the final that I really didn't mean that," concluded Hawley with a chuckle.

The team only has to wait 12 days before returning to action in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Melanie Troxel , Frank Hawley , Roger Burgess , Mike Neff