Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver Jack Beckman earned his second straight No. 1 qualifier on Saturday during qualifying sessions for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. Clay Millican (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also earned top qualifiers in their respective divisions.
Beckman’s fast pass of 4.038 seconds (313.37 mph) put him at the top of the Funny Car charts ahead of his DSR teammate Matt Hagan, John Force Racing duo John Force and Robert Hight, and Tim Wilkerson. Beckman faces Bob Bode in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
"We’ve got a brand new car that only has four runs on it and two of them were low E.T. of the session,” said Beckman. “There is no guarantee (of success) when you qualify No. 1. Theoretically, you stack the odds a little bit in your favor. Other than that, it is just bragging rights. These guys went back after Seattle and put together a completely new chassis, we’ve got the old school body on it and I love the mix. I like the way it is running and I like our chances.”
Millican faces Terry McMillen on Sunday after his fast pass of 3.773 seconds (326.63 mph) on Friday night. Spencer Massey, Khalid alBalooshi, Shawn Langdon and David Grubnic round out the top five in Top Fuel.
“The car has been really good all weekend and has been down the track every single lap in qualifying,” said Millican. “This car is so solid right now, it is crazy. I said something about this yesterday, but had I been able to keep the car straighter on the .77 it might have gone a .76. We continued to work on a few things with the chassis with the two runs today and it went nice and straight, and that Parts Plus car is rolling right now.”
Nobile’s Friday night pass of 6.580 seconds (209.43 mph) held up through Saturday’s qualifying rounds, and he’ll face Chris McGaha in the first round of eliminations. Greg Anderson, V. Gaines, Mike Edwards and Allen Johnson complete the top five in Pro Stock.
“This is pretty exciting, especially considering that we haven’t been qualifying very great this whole year,” Nobile said. “I think on average we’re like eighth or ninth throughout the season. But to be No. 1 at this race means a lot, and it means we have a fast race car. After coming off two wins, there’s nothing better than qualifying No. 1. I think this shows that things are going in the right direction [for our team] and it couldn’t happen at a better time than now with the Countdown coming up.”
Final eliminations for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals get underway Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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