Beckman and Nobile Bank No. 1 Spots for Team Mopar at Brainerd
Defending NHRA Funny Car champion Jack Beckman scores his second straight pole in his Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/T
Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan takes the No. 2 Spot in his Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Vincent Nobile paces the Mopar-powered NHRA Pro Stock contingent with his first No. 1 spot of the season
V. Gaines qualifies his Mopar-fueled Dodge Avenger No. 3 and locks up a spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship
Defending NHRA Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson qualifies fifth in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger, while Jeg Coughlin Jr. will begin Sunday eighth in the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge
Brainerd, Minn. (Saturday, August 17, 2013) – Team Mopar will head into eliminations on Sunday for the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway with a pair of drivers racing for the event win out of the No. 1 spot. Defending NHRA Funny Car world champ Jack Beckman recorded his second-consecutive pole in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T, while young Vincent Nobile also paced his class, seizing the top spot in his Mountain View Dodge Avenger Pro Stock car.
Beckman, sporting a special Don Schumacher Hall of Fame Tribute graphics wrap on his Dodge Charger to honor his team owner, was quickest after the first qualifying stanza on Friday, but fell to 12th in the night session. In his first shot on Saturday, Beckman reeled off a 4.038-second elapsed time at 313.37 mph to earn his second consecutive No. 1 qualifying effort, second of the season and ninth of his career.
“We’ve got a brand new car that only has four runs on it and two of them were low E.T. of the session,” said Beckman, who will race Bob Bode in the first round tomorrow as he seeks his first victory at Brainerd and also his first win of the season. “These guys went back after Seattle and put together a completely new chassis, we’ve got the old school body on it and I love the mix. I like the way it is running and I like our chances.”
Team Mopar will start 1-2 in Funny Car, with current points leader and Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan taking the No. 2 spot with a 4.044-second pass on Friday. Hagan, who was tops on the charts until he was knocked off by his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Beckman, will face Tony Pedregon in the opening round. All four DSR drivers will race for the money on Sunday: Johnny Gray (No. 6, 4.074) will draw Cruz Pedregon to begin his day, while Ron Capps (No. 9, 4.096) will face his friend Del Worsham. Jeff Arend (No. 12, 4.109) will face Tim Wilkerson.
Nobile, red hot with back-to-back wins at Sonoma and Seattle heading into Brainerd, retained the No. 1 qualifying spot he scored Friday with a 6.580/209.43 run in his Mountain View Tire Dodge Avenger Pro Stock car. Nobile, who competes with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Allen & Roy Johnson’s J&J Racing team, will lineup in a Mopar vs. Mopar duel with Chris McGaha in the opening round of eliminations.
“This is pretty exciting, especially considering that we haven’t been qualifying very great this whole year,” Nobile said. “To be No. 1 at this race means a lot, and it means we have a fast race car. After coming off two wins, there’s nothing better than qualifying No. 1. I think this shows that things are going in the right direction and it couldn’t happen at a better time than now with the Countdown coming up.”
Three Mopar Pro Stockers will start in the top five at Brainerd. V Gaines put his Mopar-powered Dodge in the No. 3 spot with a 6.592 pass, and in the process punched his ticket into the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which begin at the NHRA Charlotte event in mid-September. Gaines will face Steve Kent in round one. Defending Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson, currently second in the point standings, was quickest in the final qualifying session with a 6.593 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger, earning the fifth starting spot and a first-round battle with Roger Brogdon. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (No. 8, 6.605) will go head-to-head with Mike Martino. Deric Kramer (No. 15, 6.680) will post his Dodge against Greg Anderson.