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Beckman makes it official at Sonoma

by Bill Cawthon on

Jack Beckman certified his national record 3.921-second ET in his final qualifying run with a 3.958-second ET at 318.84. His best time today was 0.002 seconds inside the margin required to confirm a national title.

As long as no one beats his time in Sunday’s eliminations, “Fast Jack” will not only have the quickest pass in Funny Car history, he’ll have the top two times. The previous record, set by John Force in 2014, is now the third-quickest ET.


“I think it’s bitchin to be the quickest Funny Car driver in the world, but I want the trophy at the end of the day,” Beckman said. “The national record is for the crew chiefs. If we can win tomorrow I think that’s one that over time would be looked upon as domination. If you can qualify No. 1, set a national record and convert that to the trophy that is one for the history books.”

If his time stands, Beckman will add 20 bonus points to his Sonoma haul, which now includes the top qualifying spot in all four sessions.

Matt Hagan will have to settle for a track speed record. He wasn’t able to get a good run in today, smoking the tires in Round Three and was unable to make a run in Round Four. His Friday time was still quick enough to keep him in the No. 2 position.

Track conditions at Sonoma Raceway were worse today than they were on Friday night. Track temperatures were 30 degrees higher. As a result, Beckman’s was the only sub-four-second pass of the day.

Ron Capps, who has won four times at Sonoma, stuck with his Friday time and remained No. 4 in the order. Capps’ time tied John Force’s ET but Force was 0.77 mph faster and got the No. 3 spot.

Tommy Johnson Jr. remained tenth in the order based on his Friday best time.

John Hale finally had a solid pass in the ALO Drink Charger and qualified at No. 14.

Gary Densham not doubt wishes his Friday time had counted. Unfortunately, he was a DNQ on Friday, posted a slower time in Round Three and a crimped fuel line cost him the opportunity to improve in Round Four. He’s done for the weekend.

Allen Johnson and Deric Kramer kept the 10th and 11th positions while V. Gaines made it into the field on the bump spot, up one position from Friday.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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