The DHL Toyota Funny Car team led by J.R. Todd is cruising into the NHRA Spring Nationals with a dominant nitro Funny Car and the confidence of a team on the move up the point standings. Last weekend Todd and his team raced to a runner-up finish at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals after starting the event at the No. 4 qualifier. They posted some of the quickest times in qualifying and then backed it up on race day racing to the final quad before just being edged out for Todd’s first four-wide win in North Carolina to go with his two four-wide wins in Las Vegas.
“We were right there in the final round in Charlotte,” said Todd, who is currently No. 2 in the point standings. “It was a tough final four with John Force, Cruz Pedregon and my Toyota and Mobil 1 teammate Alexis DeJoria. There was a lot of horsepower on the starting line for sure. I was happy to get as far as we did and I think we are off to a great start this season so far.”
Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team opened the season with a win at the historic Gatornationals. The win added Todd’s name to an exclusive club of Funny Car drivers that have won all four NHRA “Majors” (Winternationals, Gatornationals, U.S. Nationals and World Finals) and won a Funny Car world championship. While Todd isn’t chasing history he can appreciate what that accomplishment means to get the season started.
“I don’t know if I have ever started the season off this well,” said Todd. “We usually build up momentum as the season goes on but I will take a win, a runner-up and a semifinal finish in the first four races every year.”
For Todd a return to Houston Raceway Park brings back memories of previous wins. Todd is one of just three drivers to have won the Spring Nationals in each of the top nitro classes. His Funny Car win in 2018 and Top Fuel win in 2007 had him add his name to a list that previously only included Mike Dunn and Del Worsham.
“We’ve won at Houston in the past and anytime you get back to a track where you’ve had success, you look forward to going there,” said Todd. “We’ll have some executives from Mobil 1 and Toyota there, so it’s a great time to show off in front of your sponsors. I won there in dragsters in 2007 and in Funny Car in 2018. It’s pretty cool to have won there in both classes. It always blows my mind to hear stats about ‘only you and so-and-so have ever done this’. I’m just fortunate to have a great team behind me and lucky to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry. We have a really good hot rod. We’re right in the thick of it – second in points. We just need to keep racking up points in Houston.”
2019 NHRA Spring Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 3; Beat Terry Haddock; Lost to Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA NGK NTK Four-Wide Nationals): RUNNER-UP; Qual. No.4; Beat Terry Haddock, Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson; Beat Mike McIntire, Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force, Beat Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria
Career Stats: 239 events, 231 starts, 259 round wins, 19 wins, 37 finals, 13 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 87 events, 87 starts, 10 wins, 17 finals, 111 round wins, 4 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: WINNER; Qual. No. 6; Beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon and Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III
Atlanta: Qual. No. 1; Beat Alexis DeJoria, bye; Lost to John Force
Charlotte1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No.4; Beat Terry Haddock, Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson; Beat Mike McIntire, Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force, Beat Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria
Kalitta Motorsports PR