Beal Racing, a team known for fielding alcohol and nitro Funny Cars for decades under the guidance of late founder Chuck Beal, will make its Top Fuel debut at this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil in Las Vegas with class veteran Pat Dakin handling the driving chores for the first race.
The event will mark a new chapter for Beal Racing under the ownership of Beal’s grandsons, Brandon Welch and Tyson Porlas. The team will race a new Kalitta Motorsports chassis. Welch will crossgrade his license from Funny Car to Top Fuel in the car on Monday following the event.
Following Beal’s unexpected death in 2017 the team made one final emotional appearance with their nitro Funny Car at the 2018 NHRA Winternationals before deciding to continue in the sport, beginning the transition to Top Fuel.
“It was a tough decision because drag racing is a family past time that goes back decades before I was born,” said Welch. “We’ve never raced without Chuck and it didn’t feel right to just keep running the same car without our grandfather. To keep going, Tyson and I felt we needed to make a big change to take the team in a new direction.”
The team purchased a fresh chassis from Kalitta Motorsports and got tuning help from veteran tuner Scott Graham, who also serves as crew chief for Pat Dakin. Upon taking delivery of the new dragster at the Winternationals this February, the team’s car chief, Bill Tagney, led an all-hands effort to assemble the new race car with Graham calling in from Dayton, Ohio, to provide guidance. Because Welch is not yet licensed to compete in Top Fuel, the team enlisted Dakin to drive the car for the race.
“Pat is a hall of fame driver who has been driving top fuel cars for almost 50 years,” said Welch. “He’ll be able to help us dial in the tune-up and show me the ropes as I make the transition to driving a long car. I’m very grateful to him for the help.”
Following the Dodge NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, the team will turn their focus to 2020, when Welch will make his Top Fuel competition debut.