With five races remaining in the NHRA Countdown J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team sit in fourth place in the Camping World point standings completely in control of their championship aspirations. They are just 46 points out of first place which could be reduced to less than two rounds of racing with a strong qualifying effort at the NHRA Midwest Nationals this weekend. Throughout the back half of the regular season the competition at the top of the Funny Car class has been incredibly close.
“They reset the points for the Countdown but it really didn’t change anything in the standings,” said Todd. “Everyone at the top was so close no one really got hurt too bad or made a big jump in the standings. Every race you see shuffling and that is what makes this season so exciting. It is going to come down to Pomona and we just want to have this DHL Toyota Camry in the fight.”
Over the past six races Todd has raced to two runner-up finishes and two semifinals. He hasn’t lost in the first round in in eight races. The 2018 Funny Car champion knows that avoiding early exits will keep him in contention throughout the playoffs.
“We need to keep doing a good job in qualifying so we can start the race with lane choice,” said Todd. “If you can come out and make a good pass on Friday night that really sets us up with a good qualifying position. You can get a race day tune up on Saturday, but Friday night is becoming the round to give you the best advantage on the ladder.”
Todd’s four final rounds so far in 2021 equal his effort in 2019. His best performance in recent memory was the championship season of 2018 where he raced to eight finals with five of those final rounds coming during the Countdown. That kind of hot streak is doable for the versatile driver from Indiana.
In 2019 Todd raced to a runner-up finish at the NHRA Midwest Nationals and to date that is his best performance at World Wide Technology Raceway. Equaling that performance or grabbing one more win light would go a long way in keeping the rest of the Funny Car class at bay.
“We are wrapping a stretch of four races in a row and that it tough on every team,” said Todd. “I know my guys are giving their best every time they unload this DHL Toyota Camry off the hauler. I am looking forward to racing in St. Louis and then seeing where we stand. My goal is to keep going rounds and try and take out as many Countdown cars as possible on race day. If we can do that we will either be gaining ground on the cars in front of us or creating separation from the cars behind us.”
2020 NHRA Midwest Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 7; Beat Tim Wilkerson, Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Last Event Recap (2021 DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 6; Beat Mike McIntire; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Career Stats: 250 events, 242 starts, 275 round wins, 19 wins, 39 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 98 events, 98 starts, 10 wins, 19 finals, 127 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Kalitta Motorsports PR