The NHRA has brought the Camping World Drag Racing Series to New England Dragway nine times since 2013 but during those nine national events only four drivers have hoisted the coveted Wally trophy. This weekend at the New England Nationals J.R Todd would like to turn on four win lights in his DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car and become the fifth different Funny Car winner. The victory would also give the brand-new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car its first NHRA win since its debut at the season opening NHRA Winternationals.
“I have a couple Toyota Funny Car teammates out here and I definitely would like to be the first driver to win in this GR Supra,” said Todd, who had input throughout the design process. “So many guys from Toyota Gazoo Racing North America have worked really hard on this new body. We definitely want to start racking up some wins with it. I know they are out there and we just need to string some good runs together on race day.”
Over the past three races Todd has seen both his qualifying efforts and round wins on race day improve keeping the 2018 NHRA Funny Car champion solidly in the Top Ten in points. The talented driver who has won in Top Fuel and Funny Car is just over three rounds out of the Top Five. Three races ago at the SpringNationals in Houston Todd started race day from the No. 13 spot, lowest to date of the season, but battled his way to a semifinal finish. The following two races, in Charlotte and Richmond, saw Todd start from No. 6 and No. 5 and record an additional quarterfinal finish.
“We are making good runs with this DHL Toyota Funny Car and I feel really good in the car,” said Todd. “Some things have just bitten us on race day or in qualifying that have knocked us back a little. The season is just really getting started now and I know my DHL guys are ready to get after it. We have a great mental attitude over here and everyone is on the same page. The best part is no one is getting too low or too high. You have to keep the goal in sight and our goal is winning races and being in a position to get another championship.”
Three years ago Todd powered his way to the No. 1 qualifier spot with his DHL Funny Car and a repeat performance this weekend could put the 10-time Funny Car winner in a prime spot to record his 11thFunny Car win. The cooler temperatures in the forecast could provide just the boost his crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer could take advantage of to position Todd for a run to the title. A win on Sunday will no doubt have a path through multiple previous world champions but the challenge does not intimidate Todd.
“You look at the people racing Funny Car right now and it seems like everyone has at least one Funny Car world championship or multiple championships,” said Todd. “There are no easy round wins out here. That is what makes this a blast. The competition has never been tougher and I have a great team behind me. We have a brand-new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car that I think will help us get a lot of wins this season. It will just take one good weekend.”
2021 NHRA New England Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to John Force
Last Event Recap 2022 Virginia Nationals: Qual 5; Lost to John Force
Career Stats: 262 events, 254 starts, 286 round wins, 19 wins, 40 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 110 events, 110 starts, 10 wins, 20 finals, 138 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Beat Bobby Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Arizona Nationals: Qual 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Gatornationals: Qual 11; Lost to Blake Alexander
Las Vegas1: Qual 9; Beat Tim Wilkerson and Jason Rupert; Lost to Ron Capps and Matt Hagan
Houston: Qual 13; Beat Bob Tasca III, Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Charlotte1: Qual 6; Beat Dale Creasy Jr, Chad Green; Lost to Ron Capps, Mike McIntire
Richmond: Qual 5; Lost to John Force
Kalitta Motorsports PR