With three races left in the 2019 season the DHL Toyota Camry team and driver J.R. Todd are in position to make a run at back-to-back Funny Car world championships. So far during the Countdown Todd has recorded a semifinal finish and a runner-up finish to teammate Shawn Langdon. On Monday the team made an earlier than expected exit at the Carolina Nationals but Todd and the rest of the team are ready to get back onto the track at the NHRA FallNationals this weekend.
“Thankfully the Countdown lets you have one slip-up without ruining your championship plans,” said Todd. “We didn’t have the kind of success we were hoping for on the rained delayed race on Monday but we put that behind us. We are ready to get to the Texas Motorplex and get back to the final there. I want to get a Funny Car win to go with my Top Fuel win.”
A Funny Car win for Todd would add him to an impressive list of Top Fuel and Funny Car winners at the historic race track located just south of Dallas, Texas. Only Kenny Bernstein, Mike Dunn, Ed McCulloch and Don Prudhomme have doubled up in the nitro classes with dual wins. For Todd getting to add his name to that list would mean something special.
“You look at those four guys and they are all Hall of Famers and I mean legendary Hall of Famers,” said Todd. “It is cool to be able to say you won in Top Fuel and Funny Car anywhere but the Motorplex is a great race track. I got that Top Fuel win over Tony Schumacher like over ten years ago so we need to get back into the winner’s circle.”
Last season Todd was in a neck and neck battle with Robert Hight and the pair battled it out in the final round of the FallNationals. Hight took the win that day but Todd finished the season with two consecutive wins and his first Funny Car championship. This season Todd is contending with Hight and a handful of other Funny Car drivers in his effort to repeat as the world champion.
“There are a lot of Funny Cars that are running strong. We are definitely one of them. The key to race day success is to make four good qualifying runs. We got behind the eight ball in Charlotte and that is what cost us. We are focusing on coming out of the gate strong on Friday in Dallas. That second qualifying session on Friday under the lights will be a critical run for all the teams. I like my chances with these ‘Yella Fellas’ on my DHL Camry,” added Todd.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights: Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat John Hale, Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr.; Lost to Robert Hight
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 12; Lost to John Force
Quotable: J.R. Todd on heading to Texas Motorplex: “We almost got the win there last year but we still got a lot of momentum coming out of that race. I have had some success there and there will be a lot of Toyota VIPs at the race. We are going to keep battling with this DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and try and get back in the winner’s circle.”
Career Stats: 221 events, 213 starts, 235 round wins, 18 wins, 33 finals, 12 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 69 events, 69 starts, 9 wins, 13 finals, 85 round wins, 3 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; RUNNER-UP; Beat Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight, Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Jack Beckman
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.
Houston: Qual. No. 4; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 8; Beat Bob Tasca III and Bob Glibertson; Lost to Shawn Langdon and Robert Hight
Atlanta: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Richmond: Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat Bob Tasca III, Shawn Langdon, Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps
Chicago: Qual. No. 6; Lost to John Force
Topeka: Qual. No. 1; Beat bye; Lost to Robert Hight
Bristol: Qual. No. 5; Beat Terry Haddock; Lost to Jack Beckman
Norwalk: Qual. No. 7; Beat Robert Hight; Lost to John Force
Epping: Qual. No. 1; Beat bye; Lost to Tim Wilkerson
Denver: Qual. No. 11; Lost to John Force
Sonoma: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Matt Hagan
Seattle: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jeff Diehl; Lost to Ron Capps
Brainerd: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Ron Capps
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 5; Beat Cruz Pedregon, Ray Martin; Lost to Jack Beckman
Reading: Qual. No. 10; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr., John Smith; Lost to Jack Beckman
St. Louis: Qual. No. 8; RUNNER-UP; Beat Jack Beckman, John Force, Robert Hight; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 12; Lost to John Force