NHRA: Beckman, Dixon, Anderson and Ellis Claim No. 1 Qualifying Positions at 61st Annual U.S. Nationals

RaceChaser Staff Drag Racing, Midwest, NHRA 1 Comment

CLERMONT, Ind. — official series release — NHRA photo —

Jack Beckman earned the No. 1 qualifying position for Monday’s 11 a.m. Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals eliminations, standing on his Friday night track-record performance of 3.936 at 323.74 in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T.

Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed No. 1 qualifying positions at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis during the final event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season.

The run earned Beckman his fifth No. 1 of the season, fourth-in-a-row and 15th of his career. Beckman will battle Bob Bode in the first round.

Robert Hight qualified second with a 3.971 at 322.96, earning him a first round matchup with John Bojec. Tommy Johnson Jr. starts third with a 3.976 at 318.32 in the Riley Children’s Hospital Dodge Charger R/T. He will face John Hale.

A critical matchup that will be pivotal in deciding the final playoff spot in the Countdown to the Championship will take place in the first round of Funny Car eliminations featuring Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force. If Force defeats DeJoria in round one, she would need to reach the final to clinch the final playoff position.

Dixon was the top qualifier in Top Fuel on Saturday with a 3.744 at 326.00 in his C&J Energy Services dragster and that run held to give him the No. 1 seed. A three-time world champ, Dixon earned his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 53rd of his career. The four-time winner of the world’s most prestigious drag race will race Doug Kalitta in the first round.

“It’s been a great start to the weekend,” said Dixon. “We had a little trouble getting down the track today but I’d rather have those runs today and that information going into tomorrow. I don’t care where I’ve qualified this year, I haven’t had an easy draw.”

Billy Torrence qualified second in the Capco Contractors dragster with a 3.771 at 323.58. He will face TJ Zizzo in the first round. Steve Torrence, driver of the Capco Contractors dragster, will start third with a 3.778 at 326.08 and race defending event winner Richie Crampton.

In Pro Stock, Anderson used his run from Saturday’s sessions to secure the No. 1 qualifier with a 6.562 at 210.70 in the Summit Racing Chevy Camaro. Anderson, a four-time world champ and six-time Indy winner, earned his second No. 1 of the season and 77th of his career. He faces Aaron Stanfield in the first round.

“The table is set and I’ve got a great race car,” said Anderson. “There are a whole bunch of other great cars. We’ve got a hot racetrack and I like that. I think my car has been the best on those. My little red Camaro seems to shine on the hot tracks.”

Jonathan Gray qualified second with a 6.562 at 210.70 in the Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro. He will face Vincent Nobile in the first round. Drew Skillman, driver of the Ray Skillman Racing Chevy Camaro, will begin as the No. 3 seed and face Alex Laughlin. Defending world champ Erica Enders, who is trying to hold off Anderson for the No. 1 seed in the Countdown, qualified fourth and opens eliminations with V Gaines.

Ellis bested his top run from Saturday with a 6.855 at 195.73 on the Junior Pippin Trucking Buell to claim the No. 1 starting position in Pro Stock Motorcycle. He claimed his third top qualifier of the season and 16th of his career. He opens eliminations against Angie Smith.

“We know we have the horsepower and today was a good tune-up,” said Ellis of Sunday’s warmer conditions. “These will be the conditions we race in. We know where we should be first round tomorrow.”

Andrew Hines qualified second on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson with a 6.879 at 193.29. He will race Scotty Pollacheck in the first round. Jerry Savoie, rider of the Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki, is the No. 3 seed and will face Chaz Kennedy. L.E. Tonglet, who is attempting to hold off Ellis and Angelle Sampey for the 10th and final playoff transfer spot, qualified eighth, earning a first round matchup with Eddie Krawiec.

CREDIT: National Hot Rod Association

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