Not many drivers have been able to sweep the Western Swing. Jack Beckman s trying to do exactly that, and he’s the provisional No. 1 Funny Car qualifier after Friday’s two sessions at the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Beckman, the pilot of the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car Dodge Charger R/T, had the first three-second run at Pacific Raceway history with his 3.997 at 314.17. He was able to clinch this in his final session – and also had a track record at Somona last weekend.
He’s looking to become the second Funny Car driver – and the eighth overall to sweep the Western Swing. He last was the No. 1 qualifier at this facility during the 2013 race.
“I just keep riding the wave and it keeps lasting longer and longer,” Beckman added. “I did not do a good job first session. Our car was wicked fast early. I let it get out of the groove and it smoked the tires. Crew Chief Jimmy Prock backed the car down a little bit because we didn’t have the advantage of running last in the second session.”
Dave Connolly picked up the provisional Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier following his track record of 3.751 at 327.19. If the C&J Energy Dragster pilot can hold onto the top spot, it would be his first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier after making the switch from Pro Stock.
“When I went through, I didn’t know the boys had set it up to run that fast,” Connolly stated. “I thought a .78 would be a good run out there and when the .75 popped up, I was in shock. With the caliber of cars behind us, I definitely didn’t think it would stand.”
Jeg Coughlin Jr., who is in his second race in his Elite Performance Pro Stock, is atop the qualifying lead after the first two sessions. He also had a track record with a pass of 6.501 at 212.59 in his Stockseth Racing/Elite Motorsports/Jegs.com Chevy Camaro.
Coughlin Jr. is running a few races as a teammate to reigning champion Erica Enders-Stevens, as rookie Drew Skillman is missing a few races.
“It feels fantastic to be back out on the track, and to be sitting on top [of the field] after day one here feels very special,” Coughlin Jr. said. “With the weather tomorrow morning expected to be cooler, our 6.50 likely doesn’t stand a chance of staying up on top. We’ll sleep on that and be proud of our efforts today, but know that we’re [going to] come out and swing hard tomorrow.”