Although Jack “Fast Jack” Beckman made a splash on Friday by becoming the first Funny Car driver to break the four-second barrier on the 1,000-foot drag strip at Pacific Raceways, it was the ladies of Top Alcohol who made the most noise at last weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Megan McKernan in Top Alcohol Dragster and Annie Whitely in Top Alcohol Funny Car posted wins in Sunday’s finals.
McKernan, who came out of the No. 7 qualifying position, defeated Garrett Bateman for her second win of the NHRA Mello Yello National Drag Racing Series.
In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Whitely won her third NHRA national event trophy, defeating Shane Westerfield in the finals with a winning elapsed time (E.T.) of 5.546 seconds at a top speed of 265.43 miles.
Westerfield had beaten Whitely in each of their previous five meetings.
Prior to Sunday’s finals, however, it was Beckman in the Funny Car division who was the talk of the track. He broke the track record on Friday, becoming the first Funny Car driver to post a sub-four-second finish at Pacific Raceways.
On Saturday night, Beckman reset the track and NHRA record with a blistering pass of 3.912 seconds.
But in the semifinals on Sunday, Beckman suffered a mechanical breakdown – his engine dropped a cylinder – allowing Tommy Johnson Jr. to make the finals. Johnson went on to take the win with a pass of 4.073 seconds at 308 mph to Del Worsham’s 4.042 at 307.51 mph.
“If you would’ve told me three weeks ago that we would make the two quickest runs in Funny Car history, back up the national record, win two races and close within five points of (teammate Matt Hagan) and (crew chief) Dickie Venables (for the series lead), I would say, ‘Sign me up for that,'” said Beckman, a five-time winner this year. “That being said, it’s disappointing to get that far into the Western Swing, have a chance to sweep and not get it done.”
Beckman earlier won the series’ two previous stops at Denver and Sonoma, Calif., before arriving in Kent.
In Top Fuel, J.R. Todd beat Shawn Langdon, posting a 3.824-second, 323.04-mph run. Langdon posted a 3.902 at 307.81 mph.
In other racing, Jeff Lane, of North Bend, added to his trophy collection by taking the win in Comp Eliminator over Ryan Warter.
Puyallup’s Glen Paine Jr. and Josh Dalrymple each picked up their first NHRA national event Wally trophy as Paine beat Gene Heaton, of Vancouver, Wash., in the Super Gas final. Dalrymple, out of Sunnyside, raced Fred Hoffman, of Shoreline, for the Super Street title in a battle of ’67 Camaros. Hoffman left early, drawing a red light foul, and Dalrymple ran it out to a 10.869-second, 156.50-mph lap for the win.
Steve Wann and Tommy Phillips rounded out the list of winners. Wann, of Modesto, Calif., battled Brian Thompson in close Stock division final with the nod going to Wann and his ’62 Fury.
Phillips, of Forney, Texas, had a nice .010-second reaction time on his way to his 33rd national event win, downing Nick Drzayich, of Auburn, in Super Comp.
Northwest Division racers are back here at Pacific Raceways for their next Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, Aug., 21-23.
Final results from the NHRA Northwest Nationals:
J.R. Todd, 3.824, 323.04 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.902, 307.51.
Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.073, 308.00 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.042, 307.51.
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER
Megan McKernan, broke def. Garrett Bateman, broke.
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
Annie Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.546, 265.43 def. Shane Westerfield, Chevy Monte Carlo, 13.848, 58.04.
Jeff Lane, Chevy Cobalt, 8.017, 157.78 def. Ryan Warter, Pontiac Grand Am, 8.568, 158.41.
Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.276, 120.09 def. Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu, 11.084, 117.39.
Steve Wann, Plymouth Fury, 10.172, 128.93 def. Brian Thompson, Ford Mustang, 13.032, 92.58.
Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 8.882, 166.25 def. Nick Drzayich, Dragster, foul.
Glen Paine Jr, Chevy Beretta, 9.888, 155.20 def. Gene Heaton, ’27-T Ford, 9.884, 145.23.
Josh Dalrymple, Chevy Camaro, 10.869, 156.50 def. Fred Hoffman, Camaro, foul.