Beckman Tops In Brainerd Qualifying

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Smith joined DSR to be the crew chief for driver Jack Beckman early in the 2012 season. . (NHRA Photo)
Jack Beckman claimed the top spot in NHRA Funny Car qualifying Saturday at Brainerd (Minn.) Int'l Raceway. (NHRA Photo)
Jack Beckman claimed the top spot in NHRA Funny Car qualifying Saturday at Brainerd (Minn.) Int’l Raceway. (NHRA Photo)

BRAINERD, Minn. – Defending Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman raced to his second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position at Brainerd Int’l Raceway Saturday during the final day of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

Clay Millican (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) will also lead their categories when eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m. for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Brainerd.

Beckman, driving a new Don Schumacher Hall of Fame Tribute Dodge Charger, earned his second straight No. 1 qualifying position of the 2013 season with a pass of 4.038 seconds at 313.37 mph. Beckman has two career runner-up finishes at the track but has yet to win there and is also looking for his first victory this season. He will race Bob Bode in the first round of eliminations Sunday.

“We’ve got a brand new car that only has four runs on it and two of them were low E.T. of the session,” Beckman said. “There is no guarantee [of success] when you qualify No. 1. Theoretically, you stack the odds a little bit in your favor. Other than that, it is just bragging rights.

“These guys went back after Seattle and put together a completely new chassis, we’ve got the old school body on it and I love the mix. I like the way it is running and I like our chances.”

Ron Capps suffered an engine explosion near the finish line during his third qualifying attempt on Saturday in his NAPA Auto parts Dodge Charger. He was uninjured, qualified ninth and will face Del Worsham in the first round. Points leader Matt Hagan qualified second with a 4.044 at 315.34 and will meet Tony Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations.

In Top Fuel, Millican earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season with his pass of 3.773 seconds at 326.63 mph he recorded Friday night in his Parts Plus dragster. This marks his first career No. 1 qualifying position at Brainerd Int’l Raceway and gives Millican a first round matchup with Terry McMillen on Sunday.