Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman‘s ”magical” run ended on Sunday with the “pop” of a dropped cylinder.
KENT — The “magical” run of Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman ended on Sunday with the familiar “pop” of a dropped cylinder.
Beckman was ahead of Tommy Johnson, Jr. in the semifinals when one of his eight cylinders took on too much fuel, did not fire and dropped fuel on the track. That allowed Johnson to take the win and end Beckman’s streak of 10 straight elimination-round wins.
Johnson went on to claim the Northwest Nationals Funny Car title, beating Del Worsham in the final.
J.R. Todd took the Top Fuel trophy when he ousted four-time track champion Tony Schumacher in the semifinals, then edged Shawn Langdon in the final. Chris McGaha took the Pro Stock title, winning the second race of his career and second in a row.
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Beckman had a chance to sweep the Western Swing for the first time since John Force did it 21 years ago — that is, until he hit a cylinder-induced speed bump.
“We had an almost flawless race car and it dropped a cylinder when I stepped on the throttle,” Beckman said. “I felt it. I heard it. And there’s nothing you can do about it. We just didn’t have enough power with seven cylinders to stay ahead of him.”
Beckman said the fragility of the race cars is the very reason his winning streak was so impressive.
“Never bet on Nitro fuel Funny cars,” he said. “I’m going to put a good face on it because they aren’t going to give me a rerun if I throw my helmet. We have set a new standard. There’s a new paradigm for what these cars can run.”
In the past three weeks, Beckman and crew chief Jimmy Prock have won two races, set a national record, had the quickest run in history and inched nearly 200 points closer to first place in national points.
“It’s been magical,” Beckman said. “Would it hurt worse if I had mowed the cones over? Yes, but it’s not about me. It’s about our Infinite Hero Foundation team.”
It was the 12th pro victory for Johnson, who picked up one of those wins in Top Fuel at Pacific Raceways in 1993. He is only the third driver — Ron Capps and Del Worsham being the others — to win in two pro divisions at Pacific Raceways.
“I told Jack that there wasn’t a person here who thought I was going to win,” Johnson said. “His car has been that good. But ours has been consistent, too.”
Johnson couldn’t believe it had been 22 years since his last win here.
“When I won in Seattle last time I didn’t know anyone here,” Johnson said. “I got in the winner’s circle and I couldn’t find anyone to take a picture with. Now I have lots of friends here, so this is really cool.”
Johnson, who was the last to beat Beckman, knew the 10-round winning streak couldn’t last forever.
“They’ve put so many good runs together that you knew it had to come to an end at some point,” Johnson said. “We’re not trying to do what Beckman is doing because we don’t know how yet. Our car is so consistent, they are going to have to beat us, we’re not going to beat ourselves.”
For Todd, it was his first final round of the season, the eighth win of his career and his first since he won at Denver last year.
Team owner and crew chief Connie Kalitta did not make the trip due to illness, but was providing input by phone.
“It’s an honor to drive for him,” Todd said. “Everyone in the sport knows Connie Kalitta and how much he has meant to the sport.”