Beckman Takes Second Consecutive No. 1 Qualifying Spot in Mopar Dodge Funny Car at NHRA Finals

Mopar’s Jack Beckman claimed the No. 1 qualifying position this weekend in his HEMI®-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), taking the top spot in the 53rd annual NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. It was his second consecutive No. 1 effort as the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series reaches its final event of 2017.

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.

Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Jeff Arend
Friday: (6.825 seconds at 95.35 mph – Q1); (3.835/334.98 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.249/220.40 – Q3); (3.859/332.34 – Q4)

“I actually thought we might be quicker tonight than we were last night. There was more sun on the track for longer today and (it was) a bit more overcast yesterday morning. But to go out there and be low of the last session was awesome. So we were low of both of the good sessions, but we won’t see that until the final round tomorrow. We smoked the tires in the other ones. I like our chances but it’s not like it’s going to be smooth sailing. We have to make educated, great decisions tomorrow.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Del Worsham
Friday: (6.107 seconds at 113.64 mph- Q1); (3.956/322.19 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.897/328.22 – Q3); (3.917/323.66 – Q4)
“We were doing the Mopar autographs this morning and it was really interesting talking to my teammates and how much they wanted to help by taking out our opponents tomorrow and that’s a great feeling. We’ve got great DSR Funny Cars. It’s going to be fun to see what transpires. We know we are the hunters now and not the hunted and we have to go one round beyond what Hight does. That’s a great team over there with Jimmy Prock and we expect them to have a great day tomorrow, so we know we have to have a better day. I’ve been saying it all year long, our guys are the absolute best and they make me feel so confident in the car. You couldn’t ask for more than that. It’s going to be the most pressure you’re going to see all season long, and it’s going to be fun to be able to strap into the cars and look out at my guys and roll to the starting line and see what happens.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.712 seconds at 326.32- Q1); (7.775/85.31 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.674/325.61 – Q3); (5.184/129.89 – Q4)
“I think we did a good job of taking all the data we know from our success here (winning the Winternationals in February) and putting it to the track with our .67, which I think was somewhat surprising because we did it in the hottest conditions. Tomorrow everything is out on the line. Each individual team has their own goals. Ours of course is to get as high as possible. That would be the No. 3 spot. We’ve got a solid matchup tomorrow morning against Scott Palmer. The motto of team is ‘do what we know how to do and have fun.’ That’s more than just a saying. We’re having a good time doing it and we just want to finish this like we started it.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 Gary Densham
Friday: (7.606 seconds at 91.30 mph- Q1); (7.947/79.68 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.933/328.62 – Q3); (3.898/333.08 – Q4)
“It would be awesome to finish strong. Obviously coming off a win in Vegas, we’re carrying some of that momentum here. Our race car seemed to be running pretty good today. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I’d like to see if we can get out there and help (Ron) Capps out a little bit and maybe try to take out Robert (Hight). I don’t know how the ladder looks, I think someone mentioned that we might have him second round or something like that. But we’ve got to get there. We’ve got to get through first round to be able to help anybody second round. The car’s running good and we always have a lot of luck here at Pomona. So hopefully we can carry some of that into tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 4, will face No.13 Bob Bode
Friday: (3.887 seconds at 314.31 mph- Q1); (8.146/86.30 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.276/132.06 – Q3); (3.916/324.67 – Q4)

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Shawn Langdon
Friday: (5.987 seconds at 111.74 mph – Q1); (6.119/117.35 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.757/326.00- Q3); (3.721/328.54 – Q4)
Tune-in Info                            
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the elimination rounds of the 53rd annual NHRA Finals LIVE at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 12.
Mopar Motorsports PR
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