Stampede of Speed Semifinal Finish Boosts J.R. Todd and DHL Camry Funny Car

photo by Auto Imagery, Inc.

In a strong performance J.R. Todd raced to the semifinals during the Stampede of Speed at the Texas Motorplex’s NHRA Fall Nationals. The DHL Toyota Camry took out Tim Wilkerson and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight before dropping a tough race to Matt Hagan. Through four rounds of qualifying the DHL Toyota Camry driven by Todd made strong runs including the quickest pass of the third session which was good for three qualifying bonus points. Todd moved into race day as the No. 8 qualifier

In a repeat of the first round of St Louis’ NHRA Midwest Nationals two weeks ago Todd outran veteran driver Tim Wilkerson. At that race it was Todd as the No. 9 qualifier getting the win but today, he was able to choose his lane as the No.8 Funny Car. The race was recognized during the Stampede of Speed opening ceremonies as the marque match-up and it lived up to the hype. Both race cars left together and were side by side the whole way down the all-concrete racetrack. Todd was able to get the win light with the quickest run of the entire event, a blistering 3.867 second pass at 331.36 mph. Wilkerson was right beside him with a strong 3.886 second pass at over 330 mph. It was the best race of the first round and catapulted Todd to a second round race against No. 1 qualifier Hight.

The quarterfinal race was a rematch of the Gatornationals final round that saw Todd pick up a season opening win in Gainesville, Florida. That race was a tire smoking pedal fest that went Todd’s way for the victory. Today it was another battle of driving skills as Todd and Hight left together and each race car drove into tire smoke but Todd was able to race further down track before running into trouble. The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car was able to hold off Hight for the win with a winning time of 4.796 seconds to Hight’s losing 5.955 seconds.

In the next round Todd was giving up lane choice to his opponent. Todd staged his DHL Funny Car and activated the Christmas Tree starting system. Before the tree flashed amber Todd hit the throttle but he did not red-light instead double stepping the throttle and throwing off his start. The lack of smooth momentum knocked his racecar out of balance. Todd was forced to watch his opponent pull away for the win with a 3.904 second run at 331.04 mph.

“It was just a long light and lack of focus,” said Todd, on the semifinal race. “I have to apologize to my whole DHL Toyota team. I haven’t been driving the way I need to be. We have a tall mountain to climb after that, but it’s not over yet.”

Todd will head to Bristol Dragway and the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals fifth in points. He is just 21 points out of third place.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.924 sec, 3328.14 mph
Bonus points: +3 (Quickest of Q3)

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J. R. Todd                           8             .087       3.867     331.36 (W)         
Tim Wilkerson                      9             .073       3.886     330.31  

Second Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J. R. Todd                           8             .070       4.796     205.19 (W)
Robert Hight                        1             .071       5.955     220.98

Semifinal Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J. R. Todd                           8             .007       7.983     71.40
Matt Hagan                          4             .081       3.904     331.04 (W)

Kalitta Motorsports PR