RICHMOND, VA –Antron Brown advanced to the Top Fuel final, while J.R. Todd did the same in Funny Car as the top finishing Toyota drivers in the NHRA Virginia Nationals at the Virginia Motorsports Park, Sunday.
Despite qualifying only 11th, Brown had showed signs in Saturday’s qualifying that he would be a contender on Sunday after placing second and fourth in the final two qualifying sessions and that held true throughout the day. He opened the day with a win over Leah Pritchett with an impressive 3.872-second run. In the second round, Brown had a substantial advantage on the tree and went on to defeat Brittany Force by more than a quarter of a second.
As temperatures soared into the 90s with track temps hitting 140 degrees, Brown was on a good pass in the semifinals until the car threw the blower belt off, but he held on for the win as Mike Salinas overpowered the track early. That set up the final round match-up with Steve Torrence.
Todd was one of just a handful of drivers able to improve his position on Saturday as track temperatures soared up to 137 degrees. The DHL Toyota Camry driver placed second in both sessions, improving his position up to fourth on the final run with a 3.961-second pass at 318.47 mph. For the weekend, Todd earned bonus points for running in the top three in three of the four qualifying runs. He will face Bob Tasca in Sunday’s opening round.
“We’re really happy with how this DHL Toyota ran in the heat today,” said Todd, the 2018 Funny Car world champion. “The forecast is calling for even warmer temperatures tomorrow and if we can run like this on Sunday, we’ll have a shot to go some rounds.”
CHARLOTTE, NC – Shawn Langdon came from behind to drive his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car to victory in Sunday’s NHRA NGK Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
Langdon opened his day by defeating Jeff Diehl and Terry Haddock in the opening round. He then eliminated teammate J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr. in round two to advance to the finals with a star-studded quadrant featuring Langdon, Robert Hight, John Force and Matt Hagan – all world champions.
In the final, Langdon was behind Hight early, but was able to go around him at the finish line and take the win by .019 seconds for his first career Funny Car victory. With the win, the 2013 Top Fuel champion became just the 17th driver to triumph in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
“The guys we had to go through today in the second round and the finals were the best in the class,” said Langdon, who also earned his first Top Fuel win at zMax Dragway in 2012. “To get this win is very gratifying. I went .069 in the final and left fourth. It just shows how good these guys are and how hungry they are to win. There’s so many things going on in my life, that I just sat in the car while staging and closed my eyes and said just give me this one time right here, I need to use it. I don’t say that too often, but this time it worked.
Todd ran in the top five of each of the four qualifying sessions during the weekend. The reigning world champion topped Saturday’s first session, was second in Friday night’s run with his weekend best of 3.903 at 326.08 mph, third in Saturday’s final session and fifth in Friday’s opening run. He earned a series-high six bonus points in qualifying during the weekend.
“Our DHL Toyota has been strong all weekend,” said Todd, the reigning Funny Car world champion. “We’re starting in a good position, but we need to stay focused tomorrow. After the rain today and the cooler weather expected on Sunday, conditions are going to change and nothing is ever easy in the Funny Cars.”
PLANO, TX – Toyota and Kalitta Motorsports announced today that the auto manufacturer will be the primary sponsor of Doug Kalitta’s Top Fuel dragster at the upcoming SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park, April 12-14.
“This is an extension of the exceptional partnership Toyota has enjoyed with Kalitta Motorsports both marketing and technology-wise,” said Laura Pierce, General Manager, Motorsports, Toyota Motor North America. “We are looking forward to sponsoring Doug Kalitta, one of the sport’s most successful drivers, in Houston.”
Toyota has a rich history with Kalitta Motorsports, having won 31 races and two Funny Car world championships with the team since joining forces in 2011. Among those wins was Doug Kalitta’s victory in the season-opening NHRA Winternationals.
“The Toyota wrap on the car looks really good and I’m looking forward to trying to go down to Houston and get the win with it,” said Kalitta, the Top Fuel point leader. “Toyota has been a great partner and it’s been a real bonus for our team technically having TRD out there with us. I’m a true believer that having TRD’s involvement was a big part in winning the Funny Car championship last year.”
LAS VEGAS, NV – Reigning Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to his first win of the season in Sunday’s DENSO Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals. The triumph marked his third consecutive win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his ninth in the last 38 NHRA events.
Todd defeated Jim Campbell and Gary Densham in the first round and then eliminated Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in round two. That set up a final round quadrant of Todd, Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman. Todd had a great jump at the start and moved into the lead by the 330’ mark. By 660’, it was a two-car battle between Todd and Johnson with Todd holding a .023 second advantage. That was as close as Johnson would get, though, as Todd registered a 3.970-second run, with a margin of victory of .032 seconds.
“It seems like these DHL Toyota Camrys always run well here,” said Todd after securing the sixth win for a Kalitta Camry in the last 11 Las Vegas events. “The whole team has a really good handle on this place, especially my crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer. It seems like the more we come here, the better grip they get on this place. We struggled early this year with cold tracks and shaking the tires. I knew that it was eventually going to warm up and, sure enough, it was hot and nasty here today.”
LAS VEGAS – J.R. Todd qualified fourth in Funny Car, while Richie Crampton was sixth in Top Fuel to lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s DENSO Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Todd earned six bonus points in qualifying as the quickest driver in two of the four Funny Car sessions. He will be looking for his third consecutive victory at The Strip and his second straight in the DENSO Four-Wide Nationals.
“The DHL Toyota Camry made two really good passes in qualifying, but we need to be more consistent on race day,” said Todd, who registered a 3.920 in Saturday’s first session. “With temperatures expected to be warmer tomorrow, it very well may come down to who makes the best adjustments.”
Todd will open Sunday’s action in a quadrant with Matt Hagan, Jim Campbell and Gary Densham, with Todd having lane choice.