J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry was very consistent in the first race weekend of the year.
They started their race season with three solid passes out of four possible in qualifying. The best, a 3.908, came in the final qualifying session and scored Todd his first bonus point of the season. The run moved the DHL team inside the top half of the field and into the seventh starting spot. The first round draw was John Force.
What proved to be a long nitro session forced co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith to keep reconsidering strategies. The ended up choosing the correct one. Todd got the jump at the tree and steadily pulled away from Force to score the round win.
It advanced Todd to the quarterfinals where he drew reigning Funny Car champion Robert Hight. Todd again moved first, but Hight was able to get ahead and won by less than a car length.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.908 sec., 326.79 mph)
E1: Todd defeated J.Force – 3.997 sec., 323.58 mph to 4.465 sec., 202.76 mph
E2: Todd defeated by Hight – 3.969 sec., 324.36 mph to 3.937 sec., 329.10 mph
Quotable: “All in all a good weekend with the DHL Toyota. We went down the track five out of six runs. We definitely started off in a better direction than we ended last year. Not having lane choice in the second round played a little bit of a factor, but we still should have run better than that. Now we have something to build off of for Phoenix.”
Point Standings: Tied for sixth with Tim Wilkerson
TEAM KALITTA PR/Photo Gary Nastase Photography