J.R. Todd, the reigning event winner and Funny Car world champion, was looking to keep a significant streak alive today at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Todd had won the previous three NHRA national events at the race track located 15 miles north of Las Vegas. During qualifying Todd posted quick elapsed times including a blistering 3.856 second run on Friday night which secured him the provisional No. 1 spot. On Saturday Todd and his DHL Toyota Camry ran a solid 3.902 second run in the third qualifying session but in the final session his race car overpowered the track looking for a good race day tune up.
Todd entered race day as the No. 4 qualifier and a match-up against Jonnie Lindberg and the Jim Head tuned Funny Car. In an amazing side by side race Todd and Lindberg gave the near capacity crowd one of the closest races of the day.
Todd took an advantage off of the starting line and was pulling away at the sixty foot mark but Lindberg began making his own move. As both race cars neared the halfway mark Lindberg pulled around Todd and held the advantage at the finish line stripe. Todd lit up the scoreboard with a strong 3.913 second run at 327.90 mph against Lindberg’s impressive 3.893 second run at 326.00 mph. Lindberg’s previous best elapsed time at the Vegas NHRA Nationals was 3.943 seconds.
“That was a tough race,” said Todd. “We had a great race car and I felt like I had him off the line. They just made a great run. I knew that if we won this race we could still be in the hunt for the championship. Now we are focused on a strong finish to the season and getting as high as possible in the point standings. There is one more race we can win this season and we are going to put all our energy on that. I have a lot of supporters from DHL and Toyota and we are going to keep fighting the rest of the season.”
With one race left Todd will head into Pomona and the Auto Club Finals in seventh place in the Mello Yello point standings. He will be focused on winning the final race of the season again and jumping into the Top 5 to wrap up a solid title defense.
J.R. Todd on heading to the Auto Club Finals: “We will have a lot going on in Pomona. We will be running the 50th anniversary DHL Toyota Camry again and I want to get a win for DHL and Reg Kenney. If you win the last race of the season that gives you momentum going into the off-season and 2020.”
Qualified: No. 4 (3.856 sec., 333.58 mph)
Bonus points: +3 (Quickest of Q2)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
J.R. Todd 4 .074 3.913 327.90
Jonnie Lindberg 13 .083 3.893 326.00 (W)
Kalitta Motorsports PR