Funny Car point leader J.R. Todd is looking forward to getting back to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a variety of reasons. The Gatornationals winner has a great history of success at the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. The race was skipped last season due to the pandemic but Todd had won the previous two four-wide races and will be looking for his third win in the desert this weekend at the unique event. No one has raced four-wide in over a year but Todd feels the playing field will be relatively level once race cars like his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car hit the track.
“Everyone is in the same boat really,” said Todd. “I try and do the same thing and not worry about the fact there are a couple more race cars on the track. You want to get off the line quick and keep it straight. The Four-Wide Nationals does offer a different variable which is cool. You have to pay more attention and really listen to your crew chief or crew guys when they are telling you who is in the other lanes. I know it will be interesting for sure. We will have a lot of Funny Cars and it has been a while since we raced.”
Nearly 20 Funny Cars will be vying for one of the coveted 16 qualifying positions this weekend. The field will be stacked with veteran teams and a handful of rookies or new teams on the tour. The variety of other drivers doesn’t offer any distraction to Todd and his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team.
“I have had success in Las Vegas because I think (crew chiefs) Todd (Smith) and Jon O (Oberhofer) have a good handle on their tune-up,” said Todd. “We won this race the last time we were here and it was a team effort. We had a good race car and I was doing a decent job driving. I am ready to get back to racing especially coming off a win like the Gatornationals. You just want to get back to the track right away. I don’t care if it is four-wide or two-wide it has been a long time between races and I am excited to be heading back to a race track.”
Todd’s history at The Strip is impressive whether there are four or two cars on the track. He has two wins in the four-wide format as well as a runner-up finish in 2018 at the fall event when he won the Funny Car championship. Prior to his move to Funny Car Todd picked up a couple No. 1 qualifiers racing Top Fuel and was runner-up at the Fall Vegas race three times 2016, 2014 and 2006 in a dragster.
“This is a cool place to race whether it is in my DHL Camry Funny Car or a Top Fuel dragster,” said Todd. “I have been racing here for a long time and I am glad we are getting the chance to get this four-wide race in. I know the guys running the track have been doing a lot of work to make sure this race happens and everyone at Kalitta Motorsports really appreciates it.”
2019 NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Highlights (event not contested in 2020): WINNER; Qual. No. 4; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell, beat Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl, beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Gatornationals: WINNER; Qual. No. 6; Beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight
Career Stats: 236 events, 228 starts, 254 round wins, 19 wins, 36 finals, 12 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 84 events, 84 starts, 10 wins, 16 finals, 106 round wins, 3 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: WINNER; Qual. No. 6; Beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight.
Kalitta Motorsports PR