Beckman Takes Second Consecutive No. 1 Qualifying Spot in Mopar Dodge Funny Car at NHRA Finals
Meanwhile, the title fight in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs will come down to the wire in the Funny Car category, with Mopar’s Ron Capps qualifying his Dodge Charger R/T from DSR in the sixth spot to points leader Robert Hight’s uncharacteristic 15th-place qualifying effort. Capps entered the Pomona event 15 markers down to Hight, and cut into that lead throughout the two days of qualifying. He now is just eight points shy of the leader.
Beckman took the No. 1 spot, the seventh for Mopar in Funny Car this season, on the strength of a 3.835-second pass at 334.98 mph on Friday evening during the second qualifying session at the historic Pomona track east of Los Angeles. The 2012 Funny Car champion also took the top spot two weeks ago in the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, bringing his total to two on the season and 23 in his career.
Beckman’s No. 1 effort represented the 17th top qualifying position overall for Mopar across both Nitro categories (10 in Top Fuel, seven in Funny Car) during the brand’s 80th anniversary in 2017.
Thanks to a special points-and-a-half format implemented by NHRA for this weekend’s event, Beckman collected 10 points for qualifying No. 1 instead of the usual eight, along with another eight for setting quick time of Q2 and Q4, worth four points each, as opposed to the three usually up for grabs for the quick time in each session. Those points will aid the Southern California native Beckman as he looks to improve from fourth to at least the third position in the final point standings during Sunday’s elimination rounds.
Ron Capps qualified in the sixth position to claim six points, along with collecting four bonus points over the four qualifying sessions. Teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. is currently seventh in points and qualified third in the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T from DSR, picking up eight markers for the qualifying spot and four bonus points after setting quick time in Q1. Matt Hagan will begin from the seventh spot (worth five points) in the Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge from DSR, and also added three bonus points to his total as he looks to improve from his current fifth-place position. Hagan claimed four No. 1 qualifying positions to lead Mopar in the Funny Car category in 2017, with Tommy Johnson Jr. picking up one.
In the Top Fuel ranks, Leah Pritchett qualified her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil dragster from DSR in in the third position, worth eight points, while also picking up eight bonus points after setting quick time in both Q1 and Q3. She made a best lap of 3.674 seconds at 325.61 mph on Saturday afternoon. Pritchett qualified No. 1 on six occasions during the course of the 2017 season and will attempt to solidify her position in the top five in the standings.
Tony Schumacher, who took four green hats this year as an event No. 1 qualifier, will start from the sixth spot on Sunday’s elimination ladder in his Mopar-backed U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster. The eight-time champion collected three bonus points after setting the second quickest time in the third qualifying session and one additional point for the fourth-quickest time of Q4. The sixth-place qualifying position also earned him six points as he looks to close out the season in the top five in the Top Fuel standings.
Retiring Mopar Pro Stock stalwart and 2012 title-winner Allen Johnson landed 10th in his Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart as he prepares to make his final start.