The Herald Bulletin

September 2, 2013

Qualifiers march toward U.S. Nationals finals

By Rick Teverbaugh The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — BROWNSBURG — Thanks to an evening rain on Saturday night, there was $200,000 at stake in a pair of Traxxas Nitro Shootouts at the U.S. Nationals on Sunday.

The Traxxas Top Fuel event got down to a final four before the rain so two rounds were run Sunday, and three rounds of the Funny Car were contested as well. Each winner earned $100,000.

Jack Beckman had the most spectacular finish as he won the Traxxas Funny Car event. His car literally blew apart after crossing the finish line, but he still finished ahead of Cruz Pedregon.

“The first four seconds of the run was great,” said Beckman. “The last 10 not so good. I bounced around quite a bit (after the body separated from the chasis), and I was sliding in my own oil. I just didn’t want to hit the wall.”

Beckman is winless so far this season. He enjoys the victory and the money, but it still feels a bit odd.

“You never know if your last win will be your last win,” he said. “So you learn to appreciate all of them. But with this win, we have to go back out and race again (today).”

Shawn Langdon got past Steve Torrence in the Top Fuel Traxxas final.

“It was a great feeling to just be a part of it,” said Langdon. “We have been having great runs all weekend. The only things that could be better would be to win the Nationals and the championship.”

The only division where the top spot changed hands was in the Top Fuel category. Steve Torrence went into the day on top but got bumped out of that place by a couple of drivers.

Antron Brown finished strong to finish at No. 1, and Tony Schumacher is at No.2. Brown started his final run on the bubble at No. 16. Schumacher started his final run out of the final 16.

“We had to throw our test (a week ago) here out the window,” said Brown. “The finals will be cooler. This division is so competitive. There’s only .06 between first and 16th.”

Brown’s top time was 3.811.

Nothing changed in the final round of qualifying for Pro Stock Motorcycle. It has created a first-round matchup between father and son.

Hector Arana’s time of 6.938 put him atop the board, and Adam Arana’s 7.025 put him 16th, and one family member will be packing the trailer early. It is Hector’s first top qualifying spot of the season and his first ever at the U.S. Nationals.

“It is bittersweet that I have to face Adam in the first round,” said Hector Arana. “We probably won’t even talk tomorrow. But I want to win, just like he wants to win.”

As with the motorcycles, the Pro Stock division had no change at the top in the final qualifying. Mike Edwards’ 6.621 stood up, and he will take the No. 1 spot into today’s finals. It was the 13th time this season he has been the top qualifier.

“It was a phenomenal day,” said Edwards. “We were low (time) for both sessions today. This is our Super Bowl. It was a great effort for my guys.”

Matt Hagan’s 4.007 remained the best in the Funny Car class, and he will carry the top seed to the finals. That helped salve a bit of disappointment he felt in not getting into the Traxxas finals.

“It is a big pie, so I guess I have to share some of it,” said Hagan, who is also the points leader for the season in that class. But this is where you want to be (No. 1).”