Beckman became the first Funny Car driver ever to finish the 1,000-feet straightaway here in under four seconds when he ran an elapsed time of 3.997, becoming the top qualifier for the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
KENT — The four-second barrier at Pacific Raceways is the latest milestone to be knocked over by “Fast Jack” Beckman.
Beckman became the first Funny Car driver ever to finish the 1,000-foot straightaway here in under four seconds when he ran an elapsed time of 3.997, becoming the top qualifier for the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Track records were set in all three pro categories, with two more qualifying sessions scheduled for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of the last two Funny Car races in Denver and Sonoma, Beckman not only broke the Funny Car track speed record, he obliterated it.
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Beckman’s top speed of 314.17 mph smashed the track record set by John Force in 2011 of 308.85 mph. He broke his own record for elapsed time of 4.049 he set in 2013.
“That,” Beckman said with a wry smile, “was our conservative setup to get it to the finish line.”
Beckman set a world record last week in qualifying at Sonoma with an elapsed time of 3.921 and now has a chance to be only the ninth driver in history to sweep the Western Swing of races in Denver, Sonoma and Pacific Raceways. The last Funny Car driver to do it was John Force in 1994.
“I just keep riding the wave,” Beckman said.
If there is pressure on Beckman to sweep the swing, he isn’t feeling it.
“Not yet,” Beckman said. “It’s too early. Ask me at 10:45 on Sunday morning.”
The Top Fuel qualifying was delayed for 52 minutes due to glare with four pairs left to go. The final pair didn’t go off until 8:31 p.m.
Dave Connolly, who got his run in before the delay, set a track record of 3.751 in elapsed time and in speed at 327.19 mph. That’s better than the 2010 record set by Tony Schumacher of 322.19 mph. Connolly is followed by Schumacher at 320.74 mph and Richie Crampton at 320.43 mph.
Jeg Coughlin set a track record for elapsed time in 6.051 to take the top spot in the Pro Stock category.
Coughlin, 45, is a five-time World Champion, the last in 2013.
Johnny Gray also set a track record in the early afternoon qualifying before Coughlin bettered it. Greg Anderson also had a track record for speed at 212.26 mph.