POMONA, Calif. -- The first qualifying session of the Auto Club NHRA Finals started off with a bang Thursday for Funny Car points leader Jack Beckman.
But it wasn't the type of bang the Don Schumacher Racing driver hoped for to start the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Less than a hundred feet before Beckman's Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T reached the finish line, his engine exploded and destroyed the carbon fiber body. Despite that, Beckman recorded an elapsed time of 4.117 seconds at a slowing 273.00 mph that was the fifth best run of the day.
"I have never had that happen to me, and I'm not signing up for that again," Beckman said. "If anyone wants to donate a left eyebrow, I'm kind of needing one right now."
The team had not determined the cause of the explosion Thursday evening, but it was clear some flames reached Beckman, who was not injured.
It also was a memorable day for Beckman.
"As soon as it blew up, the first thing you do is get the chutes out. I went for the chutes and for the brakes. The levers were gone with the rest of the body. It covered my visor with oil, blew the (visor) up about a quarter of an inch. Other than that everything was fine.
"I'm thinking to myself, the body is gone don't wreck the car. I'm trying to keep it off the wall, but I don't even know where the wall is. It started slowing down, bouncing and sliding around and out of the corner of my eye I could see the wall. I'm thinking I hope Capps is either way in front or way behind right now.
"There wasn't a whole lot of warning. In four seconds I'm not sure how much you're going to get anyway. The following are DSR qualifying results from Thursday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona:
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