J.R. Todd and DHL Camry Race to Semifinals at Southern Nationals

photo by Auto Imagery, Inc.

The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver J.R Todd rolled into race day as the No. 1 qualifier with their sights set on winning the final NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Todd captured the season opening Gatornationals title and was looking for another win on the east coast. The team came off the trailer on Saturday with a dominant run to jump into the top spot in the class.

On race day Todd was paired up with Toyota teammate Alexis DeJoria in the first round. Todd was able to grab the round one win with a solid 4.003 second run after DeJoria was timed out on the starting line. The win advanced Todd to the semifinals due to the structure of the 14-car field ladder.

In the quarterfinals Todd had a bye run and he made the most of his opportunity to have the track to himself. The DHL Toyota Camry was the last Funny Car to make a pass and the Todd Smith tune-up lit up the scoreboard 3.991 seconds after Todd passed the starting line.

“All in all a good this was a pretty good weekend for the DHL Toyota Camry,” said Todd. “My car was going down the track every run and we just slowed up there in the semis. I hate to go out like that. I really wanted to win the last Southern Nationals. We will get ready for more four-wide racing in two weeks in Charlotte.”

Todd’s semifinal opponent was the winningest driver in NHRA history, John Force. The DHL Camry Funny Car came up about a car length short from advancing to its second final round of the season. Todd’s elapsed time of 4.038 seconds at 318.54 mph wasn’t enough to earn one more win light on race day.

The DHL team will head to Charlotte in two weeks sitting No. 2 in the Funny Car Camping World point standings.

Quotable:
J.R. Todd on racing to the semifinals at the Southern Nationals: “We made some good runs and that was the big positive from this weekend. The track conditions were pretty tough for all the teams and we made it to the semifinals. You want to go rounds on Sunday so you can stay at the top of the point standings. This class is so tough every round win is a big deal.”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 1 (3.982 sec., 325.69 mph)
Bonus points: +3 (Quickest of Q1)

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              1              .141        4.003     321.73 (W)          
Alexis DeJoria                       14           No Time              

Second Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              1              .090        3.991     324.36 (W)          
Bye

Semifinal Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              1              .072        4.038     318.54
John Force                           11              .076        3.984     325.22 (W)

Kalitta Motorsports PR

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