J.R. Todd Races to SpringNationals Semifinals

Rebilas Photo Credit

Looking to secure the final NHRA SpringNationals Funny Car title J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car put up a strong effort this weekend at Houston Raceway Park outside of Houston, Texas. After 35 years the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series held what has been announced as the final SpringNationals this weekend and Todd was vying for his second Funny Car title to go along with a Top Fuel win he secured in 2007. As one of only three professional drivers to have won in Houston in both elite categories, Funny Car and Top Fuel, Todd wanted to secure his first win of 2022 to make it three total wins at Houston Raceway Park.

He was on his way today with an upset win in the first round as the No. 13 qualifier took out the No. 4 qualifier. Todd had struggled in qualifying, but his Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer tuned Toyota Funny Car came up aces with a first round win. The 2018 Funny Car world champion took a starting line advantage and never looked back making a smooth run down a tricky race track. His winning time of 4.008 seconds was enough to advance to the second round and give hum lane choice over veteran driver Jim Campbell.

In the quarterfinals Todd again took a great starting line reaction time advantage and parlayed it into another win light. It was another 4.00 second run, this time a 4.004 second pass at 322.19 mph, to head to his first semifinal round of the season. Conditions were tough for all the teams, but Todd’s DHL Toyota team found a way to race smart and get win lights.

“This place is a great equalizer especially when the sun gets on the track,” said Todd, after his second round victory. “The track has a lot of character. We have won here in the past, so we know how to get it done. We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to with this DHL Toyota GR Supra but it is coming around. I have to thank everyone at DHL and Toyota Gazoo Racing for the support. We have a lot of people from DHL so it would be great to celebrate with them in the winner’s circle.”

In a semifinal race against the No. 8 qualifier Todd knew they would need to be aggressive with a tune-up if they were going to make their first final round appearance of the season. The 10-time Funny Car winner’s driving skills were on display as he launched his 11,000-horspower Toyota Supra Funny Car first but there was simply too much power applied to the track and his Goodyear tires lost traction almost immediately. He pedaled the DHL Funny Car and made a valiant effort to chase down his opponent but there was no recovering from the immediate loss of momentum.

The overall success of race day will carry Todd and the DHL team to Charlotte for the Circle K Four-Wide Nationals in five days. Todd moved up into a tie with Toyota teammate Alexis DeJoria for the No. 6 spot in the Funny Car point standings.

Qualified: No. 13 (4.044 sec., 319.90 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:

Qual    Driver                                                  RT        ET        MPH
13        J.R. Todd                                             .051     4.008   322.65 (W)
4          Bob Tasca III                                        .071     5.475   132.37

Qual    Driver                                                  RT        ET        MPH
13        J.R. Todd                                             .070     4.004   322.19 (W)                              
12        Jim Campbell                                      .121     4.074   311.34

Qual    Driver                                                  RT        ET        MPH
13        J.R. Todd                                             .051     10.851 81.82                                       
8          Matt Hagan                                        .077     3.937   323.97 (W) 

Kalitta Motorsports PR

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