Mopar Dodge Driver Beckman Collects $100,000 Traxxas Funny Car Shootout Win, Claims NHRA U.S. Nationals Pole

Mopar Dodge Driver Beckman Collects $100,000 Traxxas Funny Car Shootout Win, Claims NHRA U.S. Nationals Pole

· Mopar-powered 2015 Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car driver Jack Beckman scores his first career pole at the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals
· Points leader Beckman has now earned four consecutive No. 1 spots
· Beckman is looking to double up tomorrow with his first-ever U.S. Nationals victory
· Five HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars will race for the U.S. Nationals win on Monday
· Allen Johnson, also seeking his first “Big Go” triumph, will lead four Mopar Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock cars into battle at Lucas Oil Raceway

Brownsburg, Indiana (September 6, 2015) – Mopar HEMI®-powered 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Jack Beckman is $100,000 richer and one step closer to his goal of capturing a first career win at the prestigious National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Nationals. Beckman outran Robert Hight to bank the Traxxas Funny Car Shootout bonus money on Sunday, and will start from the pole on Monday as he seeks to double up at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Traxxas Funny Car Shootout victory is the second career at the all-star bonus event for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge driver Beckman, who also captured the 2013 Shootout win. The No. 1 spot is his fourth in a row, fifth of the season and 15th of his career. After claiming the pole, track records and the $100,000 check, all that remains to cap off “Fast Jack’s” dream weekend is a main-event triumph at the “Big Go.”

After setting both ends of the track record and seizing the provisional pole on Saturday night with a 3.936-second elapsed time at 323.74 mph, 2012 Funny Car World Champ Beckman kept the pedal down on Sunday. His Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T outraced Courtney Force to the finish line in the first round of the Traxxas Shootout. Beckman was quickest of the round, clicking off a 4.052/311.99 and earning three bonus points.

In the Traxxas semifinals (which did not count toward qualifying), “Fast Jack” finished first in an all-Mopar DSR duel with teammate Ron Capps. Beckman was a tad slower than Capps off the starting line but his Mopar Dodge once again flexed its muscles, putting down a 4.027/314.09. Beckman, undefeated against John Force Racing drivers in 2015, lined up against JFR racer Hight in the Traxxas Funny Car Shootout final. His record against JFR remains unblemished after he used a 4.051/309.06 to beat Hight to the stripe and bring home the big money. Beckman was also quickest of the final session, adding an additional three bonus points.
“We’ve got a chance to make it a perfect weekend,” said Beckman, who earned his first career U.S. Nationals No. 1 spot and a date with Bob Bode in the opening round. “I bet you a lot of crew chiefs are going to have a tough time sleeping tonight, knowing they have to go up against that Dodge tomorrow, and knowing that it’s got four hundredths on the field.

“We’ve got two objectives tomorrow, and if we do the first one it takes care of the second one. We want to win Indy, but we also want to finish first in the regular season, because that’s a 30 point bonus (for the start of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which begin after the U.S. Nationals).

“I’m not looking past Bob Bode. He could end our day tomorrow, or the racetrack could end our day. But I wouldn’t trade our car for anybody’s in the pits right now — not by a longshot.”

A red light start kept Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan from advancing past Hight in the first round of the Traxxas Funny Car Shootout, but it didn’t hinder the defending World Champ from moving up the qualifying charts. Red light starts don’t apply in qualifying, so Hagan’s 4.023-second elapsed time boosted the DSR driver to eighth.

Hagan hazed the tires at the top end in his fourth and final qualifying attempt and was unable to advance further up the charts, meaning he’ll have an unfortunate first-round fight against DSR teammate and No. 9 qualifier Capps in round one. Capps knocked off John Force in round one of the Traxxas Shootout, also earning two bonus points for being second quickest in the round with a 4.033/317.34.

“Everybody wants to win Indy,” said Hagan, currently second in the standings, who is also seeking his first U.S. Nationals win. “You never want to walk away from your driving career and not have won Indy. They’re all hard to get, but we want to knock this one off our bucket list. The competition out here in Funny Car is fiercer than any of the other pro classes.”

DSR Dodge driver Tommy Johnson Jr. exited in the first round of the Traxxas Shootout, losing to Tim Wilkerson. Johnson will start third in his #RileyDreamRacer Mopar on the strength of a 3.976/318.32 on Saturday and will face fellow Dodge driver and No. 14 starter John Hale.

Solidly consistent best describes Allen Johnson’s U.S. Nationals qualifying experience. The 20-year Pro Stock veteran kept his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart in the top five during all four sessions.

After clicking off runs of 6.621/208.78 and 6.576/209.26 on Saturday, AJ stayed No. 5 with a 6.579/210.28 in his first attempt on Sunday, which was fourth-quickest of the round. He closed his qualifying with a 6.617/207.40 to remain fifth on the eliminations ladder and will have lane choice over Larry Morgan to start his bid for a first U.S. Nationals win

“The last qualifying run will probably be closer to what the first round of eliminations will be like,” said Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock World Champ. “It would have run in the low 60s but we broke a motor right at the end of that run. We’re putting in the motor we ran at the St. Louis test session, which was really strong.

“We have a good set up on the Dodge Dart and it’s acting happy. Yes, it’s the ‘Big Go,’ but you can’t approach it any differently that you would any other race day. For the driver it’s a matter of keeping focus and hitting my shift points. We’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and be consistent and maintain lane choice. That will be big.”

Aaron Stanfield, driving a Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Dart for Johnson’s J&J Racing team, wasn’t qualified after the first two sessions on Saturday. He wasted no time on Sunday in cracking the field with a 6.636/208.84 run, moving to 15th. His final run of 6.683/208.88 was enough to keep him from being bumped from the field. Stanfield will make his second U.S. Nationals start from the 16th place on the eliminations ladder and face No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson in the first round.

Deric Kramer had a solid final qualifying pass at 6.640/208.59, and remained 10th on the timing sheets based on his previous best run of 6.602. He’ll see Jason Line in the lane next to him for the first round of eliminations. Seeded 13th, V. Gaines took his Dodge Dart to a best run of 6.620 and will line up against Erica Enders for the opening round.
Eliminations for the 61st annual U.S. Nationals will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway.