Alexis DeJoria advanced to the final round in Funny Car, while Antron Brown did the same in Top Fuel to lead Toyota at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona.
Brown opened his race day looking at an imposing ladder, opening against Justin Ashley, who entered the weekend fourth in points. Brown had a slight starting line advantage and then held on for a holeshot win by just 0.010 seconds (five feet) as both drivers ran their quickest passes of the weekend. Brown would face another top-five driver in the points in round two in Billy Torrence. Brown once again had an advantage on the tree and the power to hold on for his second consecutive holeshot victory to send him to the semifinals with a margin of victory at 0.0174-seconds or approximately eight feet.
In the semis against Trip Tatum, Brown again had the starting line advantage. Tatum would take an early lead, but the Matco Tools Toyota driver drove back around him for the win to advance to his 126th career final round.
The final round against close friend Steve Torrence was a rematch of the finals at Atlanta earlier this year where Brown came out on top. This time around, Brown had a sizable advantage at the tree and led at the 330-foot mark before dropping a cylinder, giving Torrence the win, 3.759-3.803. On the day, Brown had the better reaction time in all four rounds, averaging an .032 advantage on his opponents.
Doug Kalitta advanced to the second round today with an opening round win over Josh Hart where Kalitta would take over the lead just past the 330-foot mark and earn a dominating win with his quickest and fastest pass of the season. In round two against Steve Torrence, Kalitta lost traction right at the hit and he couldn’t get it to hook up as Torrence ran a clean pass.
Rounding out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent, Shawn Langdon had a starting line advantage in his first-round matchup with Trip Tatum, but then started to haze the tires, giving Tatum the win.
In Funny Car, DeJoria extended her exceptional late season run as she reached her second final in the last three races after previously winning at Bristol.
In the opening round against Bobby Bode, DeJoria took the lead around the 330-foot mark and powered to the finish line for an easy win with a 3.96-second pass. Next up, she would face Tim Wilkerson, who had a slight starting line advantage, but the Bandero Toyota would run him down at 660 feet and went on to a decisive win with an 0.266-second margin of victory.
The semifinal match-up against Matt Hagan would have major championship complications with Hagan needing an overall win to take home the series title. Hagan had the advantage on the tree, but the two were dead even by 330’, with DeJoria inching ahead by 0.008 seconds at 660’ and the two would stay that way all the way to the finish line with the Bandero Camry winning by 0.0087 seconds or approximately four feet, giving Ron Capps the Funny Car championship.
With the win over Hagan in the semis, DeJoria would be shooting for her second overall victory in the last three races in the final round against Bob Tasca. DeJoria would make a solid 3.974-second pass, but it wasn’t enough as Tasca took the victory with a 3.955. Despite losing in the final, DeJoria’s strong effort pushed her up to a career-best sixth-place overall finish in Funny Car.
J.R. Todd closed out his season with an opening round loss to Tasca, where Todd took the lead early before Tasca would move back past him at the 660-foot mark on the way to the victory.
The 2022 NHRA season kicks off Feb. 15-17 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
Toyota Driver Results – Eliminations Round-by-Round
|Funny Car||Qual/Fin||Rd. 1 Results||Rd. 2 Results||Semifinals||Finals|
|Alexis DeJoria||3/Finals||W- Bode, 3.936-5.189||W- Wilkerson, 3.988-4.268||W- Hagan, 3.940-3.975||L – Tasca, 3.955-3.974|
|J.R. Todd||8/Rd. 1||L – Tasca, 3.955-4.095||***||***||***|
|Jeff Diehl||13/Rd. 1||L – Lee, 3.908-9.439||***||***||***|
|Funny Car||Qual/Fin||Rd. 1 Results||Rd. 2 Results|
|Antron Brown||5/Finals||W- Ashley, 3.717-3.713||W – B. Torrence, 3.747-3.730||W – Tatum, 3.794-3.915||L- S. Torrence, 3.759-3.803|
|Doug Kalitta||10/Rd. 2||W – Hart, 3.709-4.391||L – S. Torrence, 4.253-5.456||***||***|
|Shawn Langdon||8/Rd. 1||L – Tatum, 3.704.-4.525||***||***||***|
2021 Toyota Wins:
Funny Car (2): J.R. Todd, Gainesville, Alexis DeJoria, Bristol
Top Fuel (1): Antron Brown, Atlanta
– Alexis DeJoria closed her season by advancing to two finals (winning Bristol) in the final three races. She also qualifying first twice and third once during that stretch. For the season, she and her DC Motorsports team qualified in the top three in 10 of 20 races.
– By advancing to the finals today, Alexis DeJoria earned a career-best sixth-place finish in the Funny Car point standings.
– Today marked the 126th final round of Antron Brown’s career.
– Toyota drivers combined for three victories in 2021 and 13 overall final round appearances with J.R. Todd (Gainesville), Antron Brown (Atlanta) and Alexis DeJoria (Bristol) each taking home a Wally.
– Alexis DeJoria and Antron Brown were the highest-finishing Toyota drivers in the championship race with DeJoria placing sixth in Funny Car, while Brown was sixth in Top Fuel. J.R. Todd finished seventh in Funny Car, while Shawn Langdon and Doug Kalitta placed ninth and tenth, respectively, in Top Fuel.
Alexis DeJoria, Bandero Toyota Camry Funny Car: “We just have a good consistent racecar. We are finishing this season strong. I am excited we went to the finals, and we wanted that trophy. It just shows how much steam we have going into next year. I am so proud of this team. We have done a great job. We had a lot of firsts this season and there are many more to come. (On beating Matt Hagan in the semifinals) “I was just happy to get the round win. I don’t really care about the championship unless I am in it. That was a very close race. I was just racing our race against Hagan and we got the win light to advance to the final.” (On the last three races of the season) “We are competitive with the top two teams in this class and everything is building for the future. We have almost two years under our belts. Everything is coming together. I cannot wait until 2022 with the new GR Supra Funny Car. I am so excited to get to race that Funny Car. We are going to hit it hard next year.”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “We had a great day here at Pomona. We wanted to end the season with a win for all of our Matco distributors and our partners who support us like Toyota, SiriusXM and Hangsterfers. At the end of the day, we’ll lick our wounds from this season and get right for ’22. When you drop a hole around 300-feet, it’s hard to stay in front of that Capco car. They won another race and a fourth championship. That’s a great accomplishment and hats off to those Capco boys. It’s time for us to get to work and come out strong in February of ’22.”
Toyota NHRA Driver Statistics
|Toyota Drivers Funny Car||Points – Leader Capps (2676)||2021 Wins||2021 W-L||Career Races||Career Wins||Career Win-Loss|
|6. DeJoria||2526 (-150)||1||26-19||172||6||135-162|
|7. Todd||2498 (-178)||1||31-19||255||19||281-232|
|Top Fuel||Torrence (2873)|
|6. Brown||2427 (-446)||1||23-19||461||68||764-390|
|9. Langdon||2310 (-563)||0||13-20||287||17||310-267|
|10. Kalitta||2290 (-583)||0||12-20||544||49||723-488|
Toyota Racing PR