Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and J.R. Todd (Funny Car) each advanced to the second round to lead Toyota in the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, Sunday.
After battling rain for the first two days of the weekend, Sunday’s temperatures soared to 86 degrees with track temperatures climbed over 120 degrees resulting in numerous cars struggling to get down the track.
Brown ran his quickest pass of the weekend in Sunday’s opening run as he registered a 3.771 in defeating Clay Millican. In round two, Brown had a sizable starting line advantage and held the lead until around 800 feet when he hit a patch of oil on the track and lost traction, allowing Brittany Force to chase him down. Despite the late troubles, Brown ran the third-quickest pass of the session, falling by 0.0143 seconds or about six feet.
“It’s a bummer when after you run you see the NHRA Safety Safari team cleaning up oil on the track, and you know it didn’t come from your race car,” said Brown, who’s opening run was the quickest overall on the day. “It must’ve come from one of the cars that ran before us. When I got to that point on the track, it barely spun the tires and it was enough to slow us down. Our car was on a 3.81 run. That all being said, the good news is we feel confident in our car, our team has turned a corner, and we’re looking forward to going to Virginia. When the tracks get hot, I know that we can run with anybody and having run low E.T. of round one, and likely low of round two, I feel really confident and looking forward to some great things for this Matco Toyota team.”
Todd qualified second after running the quick time on Friday and then the second-quickest pass on Saturday, but the changing weather conditions haunted the DHL Toyota on race day. Despite defeating Jim Campbell in the first round on a red light, he struggled to make it cleanly down the track in either of his two runs. In the second round, he had a starting line advantage over Tommy Johnson, but was up in smoke right at the hit to end his day.
Todd’s Kalitta Motorsports teammates also struggled on Sunday. Doug Kalitta had the starting line advantage over Shawn Reed in his opening run, but started to lose traction just before half-track, while fellow Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton hazed the tires on the top end in an opening round loss to Scott Palmer.
Shawn Langdon, the most recent Funny Car winner at Charlotte, held a slight starting line advantage over Ron Capps, but appeared to drop a cylinder and it pushed him out of the groove where the car lost traction in a first-round defeat.
The 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is off next weekend for Mother’s Day before heading to the Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond for the Virginia Nationals, May 17-19.
|Top Fuel||NHRA Southern Nationals Results||Qual/Finish|
|Antron Brown||Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||9/Rd. 2|
|Doug Kalitta||Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster||3/Rd. 1|
|Richie Crampton||DHL Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||7/Rd. 1|
|J.R. Todd||DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car||2/Rd. 2|
|Shawn Langdon||Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry FC||6/Rd. 1|
2019 Toyota Wins (4)
Top Fuel (2) – Kalitta, Pomona1, Crampton, Gainesville
Funny Car (2) – Todd, Las Vegas1; Langdon, Charlotte1
– After seven of 18 regular season events, all five Toyota drivers would currently qualify for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Doug Kalitta currently ranks third in the Top Fuel point standings, with Antron Brown is seventh and Richie Crampton is eighth. In Funny Car, J.R. Todd remains fourth, while Shawn Langdon sits in the ninth position
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster:“I’m proud of our Matco Toyota boys. This Tools for the Cause team came out really thinking this was our race day. With the exception of one session, qualifying went well and we picked up four bonus points. It’s a bummer when after you run you see the NHRA Safety Safari team cleaning up oil on the track, and you know it didn’t come from your race car. It must’ve come from one of the cars that ran before us. When I got to that point on the track, it barely spun the tires and it was enough to slow us down. Our car was on an 81 run. That all being said, the good news is we feel confident in our car, our team has turned a corner, and we’re looking forward to going to Virginia. When the tracks get hot, I know that we can run with anybody and having run low E.T. of E1, and likely low of E2, I feel really confident and looking forward to some great things for this Matco Toyota team.”
J.R. Todd, DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: “We hadn’t seen these conditions during the weekend and, like a number of other teams, we just missed the set-up. It’s disappointing because our DHL Toyota Camry ran really well in qualifying. It’s been a tough stretch with four races in five weeks. We just need to put this one behind us, take a weekend off and get ready for Richmond.”
|Toyota DriversFunny Car||Points Behind Leader (663)||2019Wins||2019W-L||Career Races||CareerWins||Career W-L|
|4. J.R. Todd||456 (-207)||1||9-6||207||18||220-188|
|9. Shawn Langdon||365 (-298)||1||6-6||239||15||269-221|
|3. Doug Kalitta||464 (-115)||1||11-6||496||45||663-444|
|7. Antron Brown||373 (-206)||0||6-7||413||66||708-344|
|8. Richie Crampton||329 (-250)||1||5-6||110||9||93-102|
Toyota Drivers NHRA Southern Nationals Eliminations Round-by-Round
|Funny Car||Rd 1 Win-Loss||Rd 2 Win-Loss|
|Todd||W – Campbell4.696-Red Lt.||L – Johnson,4.334-10.638|
|Langdon||L – Capps4.076-4.414||**|
|Top Fuel||Rd 1 Win-Loss|
|Brown||W – Millican,3.771-3.779||L – Force3.843-3.888|
|Kalitta||L – Reed,3.856-4.208||**|
|Crampton||L – Palmer,3.971-4.431||**|
Toyota Racing PR