Jack Beckman had to wait 25 minutes to make history at the 28th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent.
Following the longest of four rain delays Saturday afternoon, Beckman rocketed to a 3.912-second run in the final qualifying session of the Funny Car class — the fastest elapsed time in NHRA history. His 2015 Charger topped out at a track-record 322.88 mph.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this good,” Beckman said. “It’s just absolutely mind-numbing how consistently quick our race car is.”
This is the second time in as many weeks that Beckman has set the national elapsed-time record — he raced a 3.921 in his win at Sonoma, California, last week.
“We’re talking about numbers that, up until a week ago, weren’t possible,” Beckman said.
Beckman will have to race a 3.951 or quicker during Sunday’s finals to certify the record.
“I thought we had everything (at Sonoma), and then we come here and we knock that down by a hundredth,” Beckman said. “So I don’t know what’s left.”
With a win Sunday, Beckman would become the second Funny Car driver in history to complete the Western Swing sweep — No. 3 qualifier John Force (3.996) won all three races in 1994.
Del Worsham briefly shoved Beckman from the No. 1 qualifying spot Saturday at 3.984 seconds. Beckman waited out the 25-minute rain delay before setting the record time.
“When you change your routine, you have to make sure you do things right when you go back into battle,” Beckman said. “That changed our routine and clearly (the crew) did everything right.”
Richie Crampton raced a track-record 3.727 to earn his first No. 1 qualifying spot of the season in the Top Fuel class.
The second-year driver bested Tony Schumacher’s time of 3.737 only seconds after it was posted. Schumacher’s car ran out of fuel before finishing the race, slowing his qualifying mph to 288.33 — which proved to be the difference.
“I’m curious to see what Schumacher’s car would have ran. … That thing was going and didn’t quite make it to the finish line,” Crampton said.
Chris McGaha got his first career win in Sonoma last weekend. On Saturday, he edged five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin for the No. 1 qualifying spot in the Pro Stock final.
In the final qualifying session, McGaha posted a 6.501, tying Coughlin’s track-record time from Friday. Coughlin maintains the record as the first driver to race that time.
McGaha still slipped into first with a 212.86 mph qualifying speed, which beat Coughlin’s 212.59.
“It’s kind of shocking,” McGaha said. “I honestly thought somebody else would go faster than us.”
No one did, positioning McGaha to win his second consecutive Western Swing race. He said he will approach Sunday’s final the same way he did last week — including wearing the same pair of socks.
“They’re washed and waiting in the suitcase,” he said.