J.R. Todd Starts Countdown with Semifinal Finish in Reading

photo by Auto Imagery, Inc.

With one race down in the 2021 NHRA Countdown J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry team held their spot in the top group of Funny Cars with a semifinal finish today at the NHRA Reading Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Todd was the No. 8 qualifier and came into race day with a solid run in the final qualifying session buoying his team’s chances for success today. In the afternoon heat his Toyota Funny Car ran 3.916 seconds at 330.31 mph during Saturday’s second qualifier.

“That run last night we needed it earlier in the weekend to set us up better for qualifying,” said Todd. “All in all we have a good consistent hot rod. We made some good runs today on race day.”

In the first round against Toyota teammate Alexis DeJoria, the No. 9 qualifier, Todd’s DHL Funny Car was able to duplicate their best qualifying effort for the round win. Todd grabbed a slight starting line advantage and never trailed in the race getting to the finish line in 3.919 seconds. It was almost a mirror image of his best qualifying effort and set the team up for the quarterfinals.

“I don’t know where the points are going to shake out, but it is still pretty tight,” said Todd, who leaves Reading only 39 points out of first place. “You want to go to the later rounds no matter what and not put yourself in a hole. Ideally, it would be nice to win and come out of here on top or towards the top. We will go to Charlotte and fight it out. I think it is going to be a battle all the way down to the end between a pack of cars. I just want to be in that pack when it comes down to Pomona.”

In the second round Todd took out the No. 1 qualifier with another strong run. He was first off the line and again never trailed in the race catapulting his DHL team to the semifinals for the sixth time this season. The scoreboard lit up 3.931 seconds at 328.86 mph and set up a showdown with Tommy Johnson Jr., in the semis.

In one of the closest races of the day Todd was barely outrun by Johnson’s Funny Car losing 3.905 seconds to 3.902 seconds. The reactions times were comparable, and it was just a close race that did not go the 2018 Reading Nationals winner and 2018 Funny Car champion’s way.

“I like racing as much as possible which is why I like this time of year,” said Todd. “It is all about getting momentum, getting on a roll and staying hot. I am glad we get to go back at it in a couple days.”

Todd entered the race as the No. 4 driver and will leave in the No. 4 spot without losing ground to the cars in front of him but creating separation on the cars behind him.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.916 sec, 330.31 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                            8             .057       3.919     332.75 (W)
Alexis DeJoria                     7             .076       3.999     316.67

Second Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                            8             .068       3.931     328.86 (W)
Cruz Pedregon                    1             .083       3.981     315.86

Semifinal Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                            8             .078       3.905     332,75   
Tommy Johnson Jr.             4             .059       3.902     331.53 (W)

Kalitta Motorsports PR