Jack Beckman, the 2015 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals champ led a Funny Car performance parade under the lights at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, grabbing the No. 1 spot with 3.875 blast in the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger Hellcat.
Beckman grabbed the pole in the day’s only qualifying session and the first of five at the race, edging out teammate and Brainerd winner Ron Capps’ 3.882.
“I’m still a fan, and when you’re in the staging lanes, and Shawn Langdon is a few pairs ahead of us and goes 3.88 at 330 [mph] and you see ‘Guido’ [crew chief Dean Antonelli] walk back and tell the crew to take the cover off the controller box, you know he knows that car just went 3.88 and he knows there’s more in the racetrack," said Beckman.
“It went out there and made a move to the right and I didn’t think it was going to make it because when they’re accelerating that hard the front tires are in the air and they don’t want to steer. I got it back into the groove and then we hit a bump. Looking at the [data] graph, it barely made it, but they’re still going to award us with a 3.87.”
Reigning world and event champ J.R. Todd grabbed some bonus points with a 3.883 in the special-edition Mello Yello/DHL Toyota, a few ticks ahead of his teammate, Shawn Langdon, who clocked a 3.887 in the Global Electronics Toyota. Points leader Roberrt Hight had the final 3.8-second clocking with a 3.896 for the No. 5 spot.
What little drama remained in the battle for the final spot in the Countdown to the championship was put to rest as soon as Tim Wilkerson crossed the finish line with a 3.923-second pass that assuredly put him into the field and allow him to hang on to the No. 10 spot. Cruz Pedregon needed Wilkerson to DNQ to have a chance at bumping him from the final spot. The run was not without drama for Wilkerson, who momentarily couldn’t get the car into reverse after the burnout. His Levi, Ray & Shoup crew raced out to help and was able to help him engage reverse.
Just prior to Wilkerson’s run, Pedregon had made an impressive pass, shutting off early on a 3.94 and coasting across the finish line at just 291 mph, but it won’t help his ultimate goal of making the Countdown field.
Ten cars qualified in the three-second zone including privateer Bob Bode Jr., who ran in the sub-our-second zone for the second straight event. Justin Schriefer (4.005) and Jonnie Lindberg (4.009) just missed joining them in the threes.
Ray Martin, an Alcohol Funny Car driver from Alaska who is renting Del Worsham’s car this weekend, lost a career-best 4.117 after clipping the finish line timing cone. Martin debuted in Worsham’s car at last year’s Auto Club Finals where he qualified with a 4.18 but broke in the first round.