Jack Beckman used some last-minute heroics and a track-record 3.835 to collect his third No. 1 qualifying spot of the season, bumping John Force from the No. 1 spot he had grabbed earlier in the day with a surprising 3.853.
Beckman, who held both ends of the track record entering the race with a 3.854, 335.57 recorded two years ago, reset his own speed record on Friday with a 335.90-mph blast and then wasted no time getting his e.t. title back, too.
“I just want the trophy now; that would make it a perfect weekend,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know that I saw an .83 coming that session but I think Force’s 3.85 in Q3 was an eye-opener to everybody. We knew it would be a little better but obviously we made perfect calls. We had been slow to 60 feet all weekend long, and we were a little soft in the middle of the run, and then it hit us: We’re in Vegas, and you weather station doesn’t mean anything, You have to give it more of everything here and once we did that it came back to life.”
Beckman wasn’t the only driver to bump Force down a peg as he ran 3.840 on his final pass to go to the No. 2 spot that he held Friday as well.
Force ended up third with reigning event and season champ J.R. Todd right behind him. Todd’s Kalitta racing teammate, Shawn Langdon, also made a big leap, guiding the Global Electronic Toyota to a 3.861 in Q4, bettering his 3.907 for a jump from No. 10 to No. 5.
Points leader Robert Hight is a surprising No. 8 with a 3.876 that would have been a top-four pass pretty much anywhere else.
After struggling early in qualifying, Jonnie Lindberg joined the three-second parade with a 3.943 in Jim head’s entry, making it 13 three-second runners in the field.
Steven Densham and Jim Campbell both improved their positions in Q3 with Densham, in his first career start, clocking a 4.02 to jump to No. 14 and Campbell a 4.07 to go to 15th, leaving Terry Haddock on the bump.
Terry Haddock was able to hang onto the bump spot with a pair of 4.14 passes and will take on Beckman in the first round.