After a 25-minute delay due to a wet Pacific Raceways track, ‘Fast Jack’ Beckman made the quickest run in Funny Car history when he covered the 1,000-foot course in under four seconds, with a top speed of 322 mph.
KENT — Not even a 25-minute drizzle delay could slow down the world-record streak of “Fast Jack” Beckman and star crew chief Jimmy Prock.
After a 25-minute delay due to a wet Pacific Raceways track, Beckman made the quickest run in Funny Car history when he covered the 1,000-foot course in an elapsed time of 3.912 seconds and a top speed of 322 mph.
Beckman, who became the first Funny Car driver to break the four second barrier at Pacific Raceways on Friday, backed it up with an equally impressive performance on Saturday.
NHRA Northwest Nationals
Where: Pacific Raceways in Kent
Schedule: The first round of pro eliminations begins Sunday at 11 a.m.
“It’s just a wonderful feeling,” Beckman said. “When you are a kid, you dream of these moments of greatness. I knew when Jimmy Prock came on board this was possible, but I didn’t even think it could be this good. It’s just mind-numbing.”
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Beckman has won the last two races in Denver and Sonoma and can become only the second Funny Car driver even to sweep the Western Swing, something John Force accomplished 21 years ago.
Del Worsham broke Beckman’s track record when it began to rain late Saturday afternoon, forcing Beckman and Force to wait at the starting line.
When the track finally was dry enough to race, both Beckman and Force turned in elapsed times under four minutes, something that had never been done at Pacific Raceways until Beckman did it on Friday.
Prock, who won two world championships for John Force and Robert Hight before moving over to Don Schumacher Racing late last season, is now simply raising the bar on how fast Funny Cars can go.
Prock said it is a matter of a lot of little things exploding into one big ball of speed and acceleration never before seen in the sport.
“We’ve implemented different things throughout the year in different areas and they have all come together,” Prock said. “We have really focused on getting to leave the line quicker and that’s where most of the performance is coming from.”
Prock knows, though, this unprecedented run can’t last forever.
“Anytime anybody in any sport raises the level, people are going to work at trying to figure it out,” Prock said. “You have to or you are going to get beat. I’ve been on both sides of it.”
Four-time Northwest Nationals champion Tony Schumacher set the track record of 3.737 to briefly take the top Top Fuel qualifying spot only to lose it when Richie Crampton went even faster.
Crampton, who hails from Adelaide, South Australia, now holds the track record with an elapsed time of 3.727 to claim his second top qualifying speed of his career.
Last week, when Chris McGaha had his first career win in Pro Stock in Sonoma, he did it with two right socks under his racing boots.
McGaha took the No. 1 qualifying position when he tied Jeg Coughlin’s time at 6.502, but had a faster top speed — 212.86 mph to Coughlin’s 212.59 mph.
“We are going to do exactly what we did last week, change nothing,” McGaha said. “I have two right socks in my suitcase ready to go for tomorrow.”
• Presales for this weekend’s races were up 12 percent, according to track owner Jason Fiorito, and walkup sales Friday up by 10 percent. Fiorito is hopeful this weekend could approach the three-day record attendance of 80,000 from a few years ago.
• One factor for the increase is that this year it is not competing with Seafair and the unlimited hydroplanes as it has for the past several years. Fiorito said the NHRA schedule is dependent on races in Sonoma and Denver, which are held the two weekends before the Northwest Nationals and make up the Western Swing.
“Not having the two major motor sports events in the Pacific Northwest on the same weekend is a good thing,” Fiorito said. “We hope it stays the same next year.”
• The race lost its title sponsor — O’Reilly Auto Parts — this year. Fiorito said that would hurt his bottom line, but expected either O’Reilly to come back or that he would have another title sponsor onboard for next year.
• The track was for sale but was taken off the market when a buyer who was committed to keeping it a racetrack was not found. Fiorito is still looking for a partner.