Heartland Park Topeka
Beckman No. 1 Qualifier At Topeka NHRA Race Captures 1st Pole Of Season, 4Th Of Career
TOPEKA, Kan., -- Jack Beckman captured the Funny Car pole for Sunday’s running of the 23rd annual NHRA Summer Nationals here at Heartland Park Topeka.
Piloting the colorful Aaron’s Dream Machine/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Beckman’s track record run Friday evening – 4.054 seconds at 313.66 mph -- stayed at the top of the Funny Car scoreboard through Saturday’s two rounds of qualifying.
It was the first No. 1 qualifying effort of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season for Beckman and the fourth of his career. His last pole came at the 2010 race in Sonoma, Calif.
Beckman’s first round opponent will be No. 16 qualifier Jeff Arend, whose best run during the four rounds of qualifying was 6.283 at 102.60.
“We had an opportunity with great conditions Friday night and nailed it,” said Beckman. “Our No. 1 time and speed will not be representative of what needs to get done on Sunday due to the warmer air temperatures that we are expecting. But it’s nice to have bragging rights and start from the No. 1 spot. Overall it was a great team effort.”
Beckman enters Sunday’s final eliminations looking to score a third win in the last four races. He won last week in Commerce, Ga. and last month in Charlotte, N.C.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver is also aiming to take over the Funny Car points lead in Sunday’s finals. Beckman is second in the driver standings, trailing leader Mike Neff by 20 points or one round.
“It would be cool to take the lead, but we’re not thinking about that right now,” explained Beckman. “Points are a by-product of performance and we can’t look ahead. Keep in mind; we have an opponent (Arend) in the first round who is No. 6 in points. We know he can make a good run and they know that we can also make a good run. We’ll be ready.”