The DHL Toyota Camry team and driver J.R. Todd knew they would have their hands full facing off against the winningest driver in NHRA history in the first round today of the Carolina Nationals. Todd had a lot of confidence considering two weeks ago he dispatched John Force on the way to the St. Louis final round. His path was tougher today as the No. 12 qualifier.
Todd and his DHL team made some consistent runs in qualifying but they knew they had to have a strong run in the first session. Both Funny Cars launched together but as Todd was powering down the track his DHL Camry’s Goodyears broke loose from the track surface and smoked the tires. Force pulled away for the win and Todd was force to look ahead at the next three races as his final chance to pick up his second consecutive Funny Car championship.
“That first round loss was tough,” said Todd. “It is hard to wait around at the track all day yesterday and not get to race. We had good weather today and these DHL guys were ready to get after it. I am going to put this race behind me and focus on Dallas in a couple days.”
J.R. Todd on heading to Dallas: “We went to the final there last year and cane up a little short. We will need to close the deal there next weekend. We have three more races to catch up to some of these guys in front of us. It will be tough but I am not giving up.”
Qualified: No. 12 (3.972 sec., 308.43 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
J.R. Todd 12 .053 5.536 127.26
John Force 5 .043 3.933 331.77 (W)
Team Kalitta PR