J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to a 4.022-second pass at 317.34 mph to earn number one qualifier honors in Funny Car to lead Toyota into Sunday’s NHRA New England Nationals at the New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire.
The pole is the second in the last four races for Todd, who also earned top honors in Topeka. It is the 12th number one qualifier of his Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career. It also marks the third time a Toyota-sponsored Kalitta Motorsports car has won a pole in the last four races as Doug Kalitta was the number one qualifier in Top Fuel at Bristol.
“We’re starting the second half of the season and it’s really go time,” said Todd, who will receive a first-round bye on Sunday. “You don’t want to peak too early, but we’d like to get another win or two before the Countdown. I said last year that I wanted to be in the top five coming out of Indy and we’re hanging right around there right now. That was a good run for the DHL Toyota there in Q2. Hats off to (crew chiefs) Jon (Oberhofer) and Todd Smith for adapting to these hot conditions and making this thing rip like it is.”
Not far behind Todd in Funny Car is Shawn Langdon, who ran third in his Camry on Friday and eventually qualified fifth. He will race Jim Campbell in the opening round.
In Top Fuel, Richie Crampton qualified a season-best second with an impressive 3.825-second pass as track temps climbed into the 130s. Crampton will square off with Audrey Worm in eliminations.
Crampton’s teammate Doug Kalitta will start from the third spot and will take on Terry McMillen in round one.
Antron Brown, the 2016 Epping winner, ran the quickest pass of the day on Saturday and placed fourth to set up a first-round duel with Cameron Ferre.
All five Toyota-sponsored drivers earned bonus points in qualifying this weekend with Todd, Crampton, Kalitta and Brown all earning three points, while Langdon earned one.
Sunday’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series eliminations will be televised on FS1 beginning at 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
|Toyota Drivers||New England Nationals Qualifying (1st Rd. Opp.)|
|J.R. Todd||1st (Bye)|
|Shawn Langdon||5th (Campbell)|
|Jeff Diehl||15th (Tasca)|
|Richie Crampton||2nd (Worm)|
|Doug Kalitta||3rd (McMillen)|
|Antron Brown||4th (Ferre)|
Toyota Session-by-Session Qualifying
|Funny Car||Q1 Time/Speed||Q2 Time/Speed||Q3 Time/Speed||Q4 Rained Out|
|Shawn Langdon||4.445/208.49||4.046/314.39 (1)||4.067/314.46|
|J.R. Todd||4.122/306.67||4.022/317.34 (3)||4.267/237.13|
|Jeff Diehl||17,392/52.30||No Run||No Run|
|Antron Brown||6.210/111.60||3.848/321.73||3.899/308.35 (3)|
|Doug Kalitta||4.533/173. (2)||3.844/321.73 (1)||5.776/114.40|
|Richie Crampton||5.611/117.97||3.825/319.07 (2)||4.333/196.82 (1)|
(#) – Bonus Points Earned
Bold= Driver’s quickest pass during qualifying
Toyota NHRA PR