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Prock Rocket makes a 3-second pass in Seattle

by Bill Cawthon on

NHRA: Jack Beckman and the “Prock Rocket” lived to the rep established last weekend in Sonoma by making the first-ever 3-second Funny Car pass at the NHRA Northwest Nationals.

After qualifying in the No. 13 position in Round One, Beckman and the Jimmy Prock-tuned Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T came back with a 3.997-second ET at 314.17 miles per hour, six mph faster than the previous record. “Fast Jack” finished the day in the No. 1 spot, 0.039 seconds and 6.17 mph ahead of runner-up Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Make-A-Wish Charger.

Defending champion Matt Hagan qualified fourth in the order. He was at the top of the list in the opening round and trimmed 0.026 seconds from his first pass, but his Don Schumacher Racing teammates were quicker.

Ron Capps will start today from the No. 7 position.

John Hale has a new sponsor, Oberto’s Beef Jerky, but the Jim Dunn Racing Dodge lost traction in both runs and didn’t make the cut.

In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson had a sweet run in the second round and tied the speed of his former teammate Jeg Coughlin, who is now driving a Camaro in the second of his three scheduled events. Unfortunately, Coughlin was a bit quicker and was the top qualifier on Friday, while Johnson was 0.007 seconds back in the No. 4 spot. Coughlin set a new track record with a 6.501-second ET.

V. Gaines made it into the field on the first day, qualifying 12th in the order. He had the No. 11 spot after the first round but Vincent Nobile bumped him down a spot in Round Two.

Deric Kramer qualified tenth with his first pass, but couldn’t shave enough time of his opening ET to make it into the field. He’ll try again today.

ARCA: Bo LeMastus will be back in the No. 42 Crosley Brands/T&T Construction/Glad Precision Dodge for the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan today. Last weekend, he ran a new Toyota. Tom Hessert and Kyle Weatherman will be in the Cunningham Motorsports Fords this weekend. The race kicks off tonight at 8:50 PM (EDT).

Canadian Tire Series: The series heads way east to Nova Scotia for the Riverside 300 next Saturday. Scott Steckly and the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge will go into the race with a slim, six-point lead over Andrew Ranger and the No. 27 Mopar/Pennzoil Dodge. There are four Dodges in the top five with just 28 points separating them.

Formula One: The Shell Belgian Grand Prix runs Sunday, August 23 at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel set the lap record of 1:47.263 here in 2009, back in his Red Bull days. We’re still waiting to hear if Kimi Räikkönen will retire from F1 when his contract expires at the end of this year. Jules Bianchi, the French driver who died last month, was supposed to be his replacement. Unconfirmed reports say Ferrari bought out Valtteri Bottas’ contract with Williams and will replace one Finnish driver with another. Bottas is currently fourth in the driver standings, between Vettel and Räikkönen.

Trans Am TA2: Cameron Lawrence, Joe Stevens and the Mopar Dodge Challengers will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington next weekend for the FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge. Lawrence and the No. 1 Challenger are still in the lead but he needs to get back up to the podium to keep his spot.

Tudor United Sportscar Championship: Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen will be racing the No. 33 in today’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. They were fifth in the GT Daytona class after the second practice session on Friday, a big improvement over the ninth-place finish in the first session. Qualifying takes place today and the race itself will start at 3:05 PM (EDT) on Sunday.

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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