NHRA: ‘Fast Jack’ Beckman earns 5th Funny Car win of 2015; Brown (TF), McGaha (PS), Krawiec (PSM) also win

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NHRA Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman may want to consider changing his nickname to “Faster Jack” because it doesn’t appear he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

The Southern California native is the hottest driver in the NHRA, having won not only his second straight race on Sunday at Sonoma, Calif., but his fifth victory (in 15 races thus far) of 2015.

What’s more, he also set a new national elapsed time record in the Funny Car ranks on Saturday of 3.921 seconds.

Beckman captured the Funny Car class in the Sunday’s finals of the Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, north of San Francisco.

Sonoma is the second leg of the annual three-race “Western Swing,” which includes last week’s race at Denver, Sunday’s finals at Sonoma and next Sunday’s race in suburban Seattle.

He’s hoping to become only the eighth driver in NHRA history – and only the second one in Funny Car – to pull off a Western Swing sweep.

Beckman (4.037 seconds at 310.63 mph) defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.073 at 308.39 mph) to earn his 20th career Funny Car win and his first win ever at Sonoma.

“Winning the race and being No. 1 qualifier and setting the national record is icing on top of icing on top of the cake,” Beckman said. “It couldn’t have been any better. I don’t think this weekend will sink in until I’m on the plane going to Seattle.”

Added crew chief Jimmy Prock, who joined Beckman’s team late last season, “We race a lot, we live it and you don’t have many weekends like this.”

Beckman earned a near-perfect 147 of 150 available points during the weekend and is now just 57 points behind class leader Matt Hagan.

Of note, Sunday’s race marked the first time in NHRA history where all four No. 1 qualifiers went on to win the race.

In Top Fuel, Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Antron Brown, earned his fourth win of the season, his fourth at Sonoma and 51st overall triumph (35 in Top Fuel, 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle) of his drag racing career.

Brown is now tied in the Top Fuel record book with legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.

Brown (3.787 seconds at 320.74 mph) defeated Dave Connolly (3.808 at 319.14 mph) in the final round of eliminations.

“To tie one of the greatest racers in history is unbelievable, but it hasn’t sunk in,” Brown said. “It won’t sink in until I leave this sport, because I’m still hungry.”

Fellow DSR teammate Tony Schumacher leads Brown in the Top Fuel points standing by 37 points.

In Pro Stock, after finishing runner-up in the last two events, Chris McGaha (6.531 seconds at 212.13 mph) earned his first career win, defeating Jonathan Gray (6.560 at 211.03).

“This has been 30 years in the making,” McGaha said. “All those years that my dad [Lester] ran in Comp and with me in Pro Stock. There were plenty of times when we’d leave the house and think, ‘Maybe this is the week.’

“My dad came close a few times, and we had a few heartbreakers along the way. This takes the monkey off my back. I really want more, but if I only get one of these (the winner’s ‘Wally’ trophy), I can live to be content with that.”

Greg Anderson remains No. 1 in the Pro Stock standings with a 47-point lead over defending series champ Erica Enders.

And in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec, who also won the NHRA Pro Bike Battle on Saturday, earned his second straight win, third of the season and 29th of his career.

Krawiec (6.881 seconds at 191.00 mph) defeated Jerry Savoie (6.891 at 194.13) in the final round.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Dave Connolly; 3.  Tony Schumacher; 4.  J.R. Todd; 5.  Clay Millican; 6. Larry Dixon; 7.  Steve Torrence; 8.  Richie Crampton; 9.  Doug Kalitta; 10.  Troy Buff; 11.  Jenna Haddock; 12.  Brittany Force; 13.  Shawn Langdon; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Steven Chrisman; 16. Spencer Massey.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Jack Beckman; 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3.  Robert Hight; 4.  Cruz Pedregon; 5.  Ron Capps; 6. Matt Hagan; 7.  John Force; 8.  Chad Head; 9.  Del Worsham; 10.  Courtney Force; 11.  Paul Lee; 12. Tony Pedregon; 13.  Tim Wilkerson; 14.  John Hale; 15.  Alexis DeJoria; 16.  Jeff Diehl.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Chris McGaha; 2.  Jonathan Gray; 3.  Jason Line; 4.  Jeg Coughlin; 5.  Greg Anderson; 6.  Bo Butner; 7.  Erica Enders; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Larry Morgan; 10.  Shane Gray; 11.  Allen Johnson; 12.  Alex Laughlin; 13.  V. Gaines; 14.  Matt Hartford; 15.  Aaron Strong; 16.  Deric Kramer.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Eddie Krawiec; 2.  Jerry Savoie; 3.  Jim Underdahl; 4.  Scotty Pollacheck; 5.  Andrew Hines; 6. Karen Stoffer; 7.  Steve Johnson; 8.  Hector Arana Jr; 9.  Hector Arana; 10.  Melissa Surber; 11. Katie Sullivan; 12.  Freddie Camarena; 13.  Mike Berry; 14.  Angie Smith; 15.  Matt Smith; 16. Chip Ellis.

SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel: Antron Brown, 3.787 seconds, 320.74 mph  def. Dave Connolly, 3.808 seconds, 319.14 mph.

Funny Car: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.037, 310.63  def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.073, 308.99.

Pro Stock: Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.531, 212.13  def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.560, 211.03.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.881, 191.00  def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.891, 194.13.

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.738, 322.34 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.782, 324.20; Steve Torrence, 3.812, 322.96 def. Troy Buff, 3.911, 272.78; Dave Connolly, 3.784, 322.50 def. Terry McMillen, 4.726, 155.02; Antron Brown, 3.769, 321.27 def. Steven Chrisman, 6.090, 102.81; J.R. Todd, 4.050, 298.40 def. Jenna Haddock, 4.127, 219.19; Tony Schumacher, 3.767, 325.69 def. Brittany Force, 4.280, 201.25; Larry Dixon, 4.051, 269.83 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.445, 165.09; Richie Crampton, 3.805, 323.27 def. Spencer Massey, 6.383, 92.29;

QUARTERFINALS — Connolly, 3.792, 325.06 def. Dixon, 3.818, 322.42; Todd, 3.790, 323.66 def. Millican, 3.793, 319.98; Brown, 3.805, 318.09 def. Crampton, 4.536, 165.99; Schumacher, 3.810, 321.58 def. Torrence, 3.821, 320.43;

SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.797, 319.45 def. Schumacher, 3.816, 322.34; Connolly, 3.787, 326.40 def. Todd, 3.887, 310.55;

FINAL — Brown, 3.787, 320.74 def. Connolly, 3.808, 319.14.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.891, 174.12 def. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.983, 157.15; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.993, 314.09 def. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.127, 295.72; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.099, 313.15 def. Paul Lee, Toyota Solara, 4.105, 307.44; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.376, 260.56 def. Jeff Diehl, Solara, 10.602, 70.95; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.052, 314.24 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.081, 317.64; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.319, 225.56 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 6.091, 100.37; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.070, 309.63 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.508, 190.06; Chad Head, Camry, 4.040, 315.86 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.065, 310.48;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.126, 305.98 def. Hagan, 4.139, 306.53; Beckman, 3.979, 319.67 def. Head, 7.415, 101.74; Hight, 4.095, 312.21 def. Capps, 4.113, 311.27; C. Pedregon, 4.051, 306.67 def. J. Force, 4.175, 310.63;

SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.109, 307.93 def. C. Pedregon, 11.675, 67.24; Beckman, 4.037, 310.91 def. Hight, 4.095, 311.27;

FINAL — Beckman, 4.037, 310.63 def. Johnson Jr., 4.073, 308.99.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.531, 211.93 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.530, 212.39; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.516, 211.93 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.537, 211.83; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.519, 211.49 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, broke; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.534, 211.33 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, foul; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.529, 211.36 def. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.567, 211.10; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.518, 211.53 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.603, 208.68; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.530, 212.19 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.561, 211.33; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.502, 211.99 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.556, 211.76;

QUARTERFINALS — McGaha, 6.514, 212.13 def. Enders, 6.529, 211.93; Coughlin, 6.537, 211.03 def. Nobile, 6.534, 211.83; Line, 6.528, 211.39 def. Butner, 6.527, 211.66; J. Gray, 6.533, 210.54 def. Anderson, 6.518, 211.86;

SEMIFINALS — J. Gray, 6.544, 211.10 def. Line, 6.514, 212.09; McGaha, 6.531, 212.29 def. Coughlin, 6.551, 211.20;

FINAL — McGaha, 6.531, 212.13 def. J. Gray, 6.560, 211.03.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.858, 194.60 def. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.008, 189.36; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.869, 195.76 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.926, 193.32; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.921, 192.33 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.025, 186.54; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.031, 185.59 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, broke; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.901, 196.47 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.010, 193.16; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 192.88 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.975, 187.81; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.963, 191.92 def. Angie Smith, 7.025, 183.87; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.975, 192.36 def. Matt Smith, 7.155, 191.97;

QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.832, 195.05 def. Stoffer, 6.911, 191.84; Krawiec, 6.859, 193.18 def. Johnson, 6.936, 192.00; Pollacheck, 7.002, 187.94 def. Arana Jr, foul; Underdahl, 6.878, 195.36 def. Hines, 6.900, 191.08;

SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.861, 195.08 def. Underdahl, 6.884, 195.39; Krawiec, 6.887, 193.27 def. Pollacheck, 7.053, 185.79;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.881, 191.00 def. Savoie, 6.891, 194.13.

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 1,206; 2.  Antron Brown, 1,169; 3.  Larry Dixon, 960; 4.  Doug Kalitta, 912; 5.  Richie Crampton, 901; 6.  Spencer Massey, 820; 7.  Brittany Force, 794; 8.  Steve Torrence, 783; 9.  J.R. Todd, 782; 10.  Shawn Langdon, 780.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 1,142; 2.  Jack Beckman, 1,085; 3.  John Force, 948; 4.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 947; 5. Ron Capps, 935; 6.  Del Worsham, 902; 7.  Cruz Pedregon, 855; 8.  Tim Wilkerson, 815; 9.  Robert Hight, 784; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 765.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 1,263; 2.  Erica Enders, 1,216; 3.  Jason Line, 1,069; 4.  Chris McGaha, 1,053; 5.  Allen Johnson, 877; 6.  Larry Morgan, 874; 7.  Drew Skillman, 779; 8.  Jonathan Gray, 761; 9. Shane Gray, 757; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 735.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 702; 2.  Hector Arana Jr, 596; 3.  Andrew Hines, 546; 4.  Karen Stoffer, 468; 5. Jim Underdahl, 459; 6.  Jerry Savoie, 429; 7.  Hector Arana, 417; 8.  Matt Smith, 389; 9.  Scotty Pollacheck, 376; 10.  Angelle Sampey, 336.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.