Fast Start for “Fast Jack” and Mopar Dodge//SRT with Funny Car National Event Win at NHRA Winternationals to Kick-off 2020 Season
Pomona, CA – A fast start to the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season was exactly what “Fast Jack” Beckman was looking for as he drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a national event win at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals to kick off the year on the heels of his runner-up finish in the 2019 Funny Car Championship.
From his No.2 qualifying position, the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver knew the stage was set for him to have a strong eliminations performance at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., and commence his drive for the 2020 Funny Car Championship immediately.
Beckman drove past Alexis DeJoria, DSR teammate Ron Capps, and Steve Densham to earn a berth in the final round versus John Force.
Force had a slight starting line advantage, but Beckman quickly powered his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to an exciting side-by-side battle before steadily making gains and taking the lead in the final stretch.
Gilley, who hails from Hilmar, California, drove his E/SA 1969 Dodge Dart GTS to a round-four finish in Stock Eliminator at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals. Powered by a Mopar 340 small-block, Gilley ran a string of consistent high 10-second elapsed-times during competition.
During round four, both he and his opponent had the same reaction times, but unfortunately Gilley lost by a mere 0.0193 seconds. For his great driving and tuning efforts, Gilley will receive $500 dollars from Dodge for advancing the furthest in his class.
KALITTA, BECKMAN AND COUGHLIN SCORE START THE SEASON WITH AT THE 60TH ANNUAL LUCAS OIL NHRA WINTERNATIONALS PRESENTED BY PROTECTTHEHARVEST.COM
POMONA, CA – For the third straight time, Doug Kalitta took home a national event win at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com. Sunday’s win marks Kalitta’s 48th career win, placing him fifth in wins on the all-time Top Fuel list.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) also took home event wins in their respective categories, marking the first time in NHRA history that the winners from the Auto Club Finals also took home wins at the Winternationals.
Top Fuel veteran Kalitta went 3.698-seconds at 330.23 mph in his Mac Tools dragster to defeat JFR’s Austin Prock in the final round at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Kalitta has won four of the last five races at the track and has advanced to five final rounds in a row at the Winternationals. Kalitta defeated Brandon Welch, Justin Ashley and former world champion Brittany Force to advance to the finals on Sunday.
POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta defeated Austin Prock in the final to become the first Top Fuel driver in history to win three consecutive Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in the 60th running of the event at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday. Toyota Top Fuel drivers have now won eight of the last 11 Winternationals.
In the opening round of the day, Kalitta squared off with rookie Brandon Welch. Kalitta had a slight lead at the tree before rattling the tires and being forced to pedal it for the win. He would match-up with Justin Ashley in round two. Once again, he had an advantage at the light and never trailed in advancing to the semifinals. That set up an epic semifinal between the Mac Tools Toyota driver and pole-sitter Brittany Force. For the third straight race Kalitta had an advantage at the starting line and never trailed in nipping Force with a 3.675 to a 3.680 as both cars clocked in at more than 329 mph.
In the finals against Prock, Kalitta was once again out of the gate first with a stellar .038-second reaction time and then drove straight down the groove for the victory with a 3.698-second pass for his 48th career Top Fuel win. Kalitta closed out the event by running his two quickest passes of the weekend in his final two runs.
Pomona, CA – It was a strong and fast start for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) veteran pilots Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman as they drove their Mopar Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Cars to the No.1 and No.2 qualifier positions, respectively, in anticipation of Sunday’s first race day of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association Mello Yello Drag Racing season at the 60th annual Winternationals.
Hagan kept his Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car atop the timesheets at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., through four qualifying sessions to earn his first No.1 qualifier position of the new year after running low E.T. on his first and last runs.
“This Mopar Funny Car is just flying out there,” said Hagan who improved on Friday’s provisional top spot pass of 3.867 second /331.20 mph with a 3.841 second elapsed time qualifying run a top speed of 333.25 mph. on his final run. “When your team puts a hot rod underneath you like that, it’s always fun.”
“Going into race day tomorrow, my lights are good, the car is running great, the guys are doing a phenomenal job, and we came off of a really strong season last year, so we’re just focused on keeping the ball rolling,” added Hagan who collected eight qualifying points for his efforts and will face off against Alex Miladinovich in the first round of eliminations.
POMONA, CA – With an impressive blast of 3.841 seconds at 333.25 mph behind the wheel of his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Matt Hagan rocketed to the top of the NHRA Winternationals Funny Car leaderboard on Saturday evening at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Hagan began day two of qualifying for the season-opener from the No. 1 spot on the strength of his Friday afternoon Q1 pass of 3.867 seconds, which held firm throughout the third qualifying session. With track conditions steadily improving throughout the field-setting fourth round, Hagan and his Dickie Venables-led Mopar team watched as reigning Funny Car champion Robert Hight laid down a solid run of 3.862 seconds to knock them from the top spot. Not to be outdone, Hagan immediately reclaimed the No. 1 position with his 3.84. In the opposite lane, his teammate Jack Beckman charged his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge to a 3.856 E.T. to also eclipse Hight and move into the No. 2 position.
Both Beckman and Hagan have been on a roll since late in the 2019 season. Beckman solidified himself as a serious title threat with his strong showing at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, the final event of the ‘regular’ season, which saw him earn the Indy pole and a runner-up finish. At the very next race, the first event of the Countdown, Beckman raced to victory and bookended his playoff run with another win at the season-closer. Hagan’s momentum began when he captured back-to-back Countdown victories and the No. 1 qualifier at the 2019 season-closer. Both drivers remained in the title hunt through the final day of the season, with Beckman finishing as the runner-up and Hagan taking third.
POMONA, CA – Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel team launched their way to the No. 1 qualifier spot Saturday night at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Top Fuel teammate Austin Prock improved to secure the No. 2 spot with his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team giving John Force Racing their first 1-2 race day start in Top Fuel. John Force also improved to land his BlueDEF Chevrolet Camaro SS in the No. 5 spot with Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS crew starting race day from third.
Brittany Force, the 2017 Top Fuel world champion, strung together three strong passes through two days of qualifying at the season-opening Winternationals that ended with her landing the first No. 1 qualifier of the season, the 19th of her career and second at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
In her first pass Saturday, Force powered her Monster Energy machine to a stout 3.686-second pass at 332.51 mph to be quickest of the session and pick up three bonus points. Force continued to dominate the Top Fuel field in the final qualifying round when she handled her 11,000-horsepower machine to 3.657-seconds and 334.32 mph and lock in the No. 1 qualifier spot.