The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver J.R. Todd are in the middle of the 2021 NHRA Funny Car battle and today’s Las Vegas Nationals was a chance for the 2018 Funny Car world champion to close the gap from the No. 3 position in the points. In a wild first round Todd was upset along with the drivers sitting in the No. 1 and No.4 positions. Heading to the final race of the season Todd will have an outside shot at the championship.
During the two days of qualifying from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Todd posted solid runs including a stellar 3.905 second pass at 327.03 mph which was the quickest run of the second session, good enough for three bonus points, and the No. 3 qualifier position. Todd also posted the third quickest run of the first session to show that his performance levels were top of the category.
On race day Todd drew veteran Paul Lee in the first round with lane choice and confidence on the heels of his final round appearance from the Thunder Valley Nationals two weeks ago. When Todd hit the throttle his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, he was side by side with his opponent. As the finish line closed in Todd’s Goodyear tires surprisingly lost traction and slowed his momentum allowing Lee to dart around him at the finish line for an upset win.
“We have been making great runs for the past two races so that was a surprise,” said Todd. “We got hurt a little in the points but it will make Pomona very interesting. We made up a lot of ground in Bristol and I was looking to do the same thing today. I know we are going to look at what happened and get ready for the last race of the season.”
Qualified: No. 3 (3.905 sec, 327.03 mph
Bonus points: +4 (3rd quickest of Q1, Quickest of Q2)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
J. R. Todd 3 .076 4.960 155.76
Paul Lee 14 .005 3.921 328.94 (W)
Kalitta Motorsports PR