For J.R. Todd, the two-time U.S. Nationals winner, getting back to the track in Indianapolis is always a special event. It is a track where he raced junior dragsters growing up and then captured the biggest single day win in drag racing not just once but twice. The second win paved the way for his first NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car world championship in 2018. This weekend Todd and his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team will be rolling on the property for the third installment off the NHRA Nationals in Indianapolis as the pandemic affected NHRA season marches on.
“I love racing at Indy,” said Todd. “Lots of history here for me personally and for the sport of NHRA. This will be our third shot at getting another win and I like our chances. We are making good runs on Saturday and we just need to string a few more round wins together on Sunday.”
For Todd the chance to go rounds on Sunday could lead to another move up the Mello Yello Funny Car point standings. He is tied for sixth place and is just 63 points out of fourth. A strong race this weekend could help the former Funny Car champ reel in the top three Funny Cars.
“This season is really interesting since there are a lot if unknowns,” said Todd. “I am hopeful we will get a lot more races in but we just don’t know. I know our team and the NHRA are doing everything we can to be ready to race. I live close to the track so I don’t mind racing in Indy but I know there are fans in other parts of the country that would love to see this DHL Toyota Camry in person.”
While the teams are racing again in Indy the interest in the sport continues to grow. The Fox broadcast numbers have been encouraging showing a jump of over 300,000 viewers from the first NHRA Nationals held in Indy to the second national event that was unfortunately shortened by rain. The coverage and exposure on Fox is one of many aspects of getting back to racing that encourages Todd.
“We want to be successful on the track but also on TV. Seeing the Fox numbers going up is great for our team and our sponsors like DHL, Toyota, Wix Filters, Mobil1 and NGK Spark Plugs. You want to go rounds on Sunday so you can get those top end interviews to thank all the people that help you out. This DHL team has been working really hard to get better every race. I think we will see even better results as the season goes on starting this weekend,” added Todd.
Last Event Recap (2020 NHRA Indy2 Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Quotable: J.R. Todd on getting back to Indy: “This DHL team just wants to race. We’ll race in Indy or Atlanta or Dallas. We just want to keep the season going. I know a lot of people are working really hard to make this happen and I want to thank them for their efforts. Everyone is having to make adjustments and we just want to keep making runs and turning on win lights.”
Career Stats: 228 events, 220 starts, 240 round wins, 18 wins, 33 finals, 12 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 76 events, 76 starts, 9 wins, 13 finals, 92 round wins, 3 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Time Wilkerson
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Ron Capps
Indy1 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Alex Miladinovich, Alexis DeJoria; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Indy2 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Kalitta Motorsports PR