Capps, Beckman off to fast start in NHRA finale at Pomona

POMONA, Calif. (AP) Ron Capps earned valuable qualifying points and Jack Beckman sprinted to the qualifying lead in Funny Car on Friday in the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Capps had the lowest time in the first session of qualifying with a 3.883-second pass at 323.66 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T. He was awarded three points for being the quickest of the session, giving him an 89-point lead over teammate and second-place Matt Hagan.

If Capps, the winningest Funny Car driver in NHRA history without a world championship, has at least an 81-point lead over Hagan when qualifying concludes Saturday evening, he will wrap up the season title.

Beckman raced to the top qualifying position with a 3.865 at 332.84 in his Dodge Charger R/T. He set both ends of the track record.

''It was an amazing run,'' Beckman said. ''We had hot conditions all day but us running the new track records is a testament to how fast the Funny Car category has gotten as a whole this entire season.''

Antron Brown was the fastest in Top Fuel a week after taking the season title, Jason Line topped the Pro Stock field, and Jerry Savoie led in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Brown had a 3.713 at 326.56. Line ran a 6.565 at 211.16 in a Chevrolet Camaro. He leads the standings, 20 points ahead of Greg Anderson. Savoie had a 6.844 at 195.93 on a Suzuki.