Las Vegas – J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny car team have done it all at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year they won their second consecutive Four-Wide Nationals in the spring and at the end of 2018 their victory at the fall Las Vegas Nationals all but wrapped up their Funny Car championship. Todd also raced to three Top Fuel final rounds in 2016, 2014 and 2006. That kind of winning experience could come in handy this weekend at the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series wraps up a wild 2020 season.
“This season has been a marathon for sure,” said Todd. “We got off of a slow start at the first two races and then we had the break in the middle. Once we got going again in Indianapolis we made some strides getting to back to back final rounds including the finals of the U.S. Nationals in Indy.”
Throughout the season Todd has stayed on the heels of the point leading Funny Cars. A strong finish at the Las Vegas Nationals could easily see him finishing in the Top Five and a fourth place finish would be a lofty goal. Either position would be his second highest point finish since his move to Funny Car in 2017.
Las Vegas – With the final race of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season just days away Shawn Langdon and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster team are looking to shore up another Top Five finish. Langdon sits No. 5 but there are a number of pursuers looking to try and move around the 2020 U.S, Nationals champion. Maintaining his position in the Top Fuel standings would mean Langdon finished Top Five six times in the past nine seasons he competed in the category including his championship season of 2013.
“Getting back into the dragster this season was an adjustment but so much muscle memory came back,” said Langdon. “This DHL team grew stronger as the season went on and definitely the U.S. Nationals win in Indy was our high point so far.”
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been a track where Langdon continues to search for that first career Top Fuel win in the desert. He has two No. 1 qualifiers from 2013 and 2009 but the veteran Top Fuel and Funny Car racer has yet to reach a final round at the race track located 20 miles north of Sin City
Las Vegas – Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team will need some help if they are going to secure their first NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world championship this weekend. Only two drivers are in contention, Steve Torrence and Kalitta, with Kalitta trailing the point leader by 101 points. There are 168 points up for grabs in competition including qualifying points and the 30 points awarded per round win. There are a number of scenarios that lead to a Kalitta world championship but the most realistic is a Torrence loss in the first round and a Kalitta victory.
“We have a chance to get the world championship and that is all we want,” said Kalitta. “It is a long shot but strange things can happen on race day. Nothing is guaranteed. This Mac Tools team is going to go out there and take care of our business. That is all we can do.”
The Mac Tools team has raced to four final rounds this season and picked up two wins. Kalitta started the season with a win at the Winternationals and also won the Midwest Nationals in St Louis earlier this month. In 2019 Kalitta picked up a season opening win at Auto Club Raceway and closed the season with a win there as well. He would like to repeat that bookend victory celebration at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Houston, TX – J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car will be leaving the NHRA Camping World Springnationals at Houston Raceway Park with both ends of the Funny Car track record book. He posted low ET and top speed of race day as wrote his name into the performance record book. In the opening session Todd blasted down the track with a winning and record setting time of 3.894 seconds at 333.49 mph. The DHL Camry Funny Car’s speed was the fastest of both Top Fuel and Funny Car, a tremendous achievement that brought the Houston crowd to its feet.
The first round win came over veteran Terry Haddock who smoked the tires and costed across the finish line. The scoreboards lit up 3.894 to 9.360 seconds and the DHL Camry Funny Car never trailed in the race. The win also gave Todd lane choice over Tommy Johnson Jr. on the quarterfinals.
“We had a great run in the first round,” said Todd. “It’s nice to have run the fastest pass of the weekend in this DHL Camry, but in the end, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to win. This is the second straight race that we’ve run really well in the first round, but we need four of those. We have one race left to get it done. We’ve won in Las Vegas three times in the past couple of years and our goal will be to get a fourth next week.
Houston, TX – Heading into race day at the NHRA Springnationals at Houston Raceway Park Shawn Langdon and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel team knew they would have their hands full with a tough first round opponent. As the No. 8 qualifier Langdon matched up with rookie of the year contender Justin Ashley for the sixth time in ten races. Langdon held a 3-2 winning advantage heading into today’s race.
The first round race went Langdon’s way from the start and he extended his head to head record to 4-2 against Ashley. He had a stellar reaction time of .031 to Ashley’s .037 and the DHL Kalitta Air dragster never trailed. As Langdon was pulling away Ashley tried to pedal his dragster but the 2020 U.S. Nationals champion was too strong and got the win.
For the second week in a row Langdon had to race the Camping World Top Fuel point leader. Last week Langdon faced Steve Torrence in the semifinals and today the quarterfinal match-up of two world champions was another tough race. The DHL dragster took off and was side by side as each dragster approached half-track. As the finish line approached Langdon hazed tires and slowed to 4.063 as he crossed the finish line.
Houston, TX – Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster will leave Houston Raceway Park No. 2 in the Camping World Top Fuel standings. The team raced to a quarterfinal finish from the No. 5 qualifier position and will head to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a serious but not insurmountable point deficit. There will be 30 points awarded each round and with a little help Kalitta could be in control of his championship destiny.
“We knew the championship would come down to the last race,” said Kalitta. “We have a hole to dig out of for sure. The one thing about this Mac Tools team is we are going to keep fighting. There are points and half in Las Vegas and if we get a couple quick qualifying runs we can make up some ground on Saturday. We are going to go into the weekend with our focus on winning the race and getting the championship.”
In the opening round today Kalitta outran Texan Kebin Kinsley for his 21st round win of the season. The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster never trailed in the race. Kalitta grabbed a starting line reaction time advantage and then he powered to victory with a 3.716 second at 327.27 mph run. It was a big jump in performance from his best qualifying effort and gave him lane choice going into the quarterfinals.
Houston, TX – This weekend’s NHRA Spring Nationals sees the return of J.R. Todd to a track where he has done something only two other racers in Houston Raceway Park history have accomplished. Todd along with Mike Dunn and Del Worsham are the only three racers to have won the Spring Nationals in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. In a matter of days Todd and his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car will be looking to add a second Funny Car title to his trophy case and also continue to climb the NHRA Camping World Funny Car standings with two races remaining in the season.
“It is cool to be able to say you have done something only a couple other racers have done at a track that has as much history as Houston Raceway Park,” said Todd. “Guys like Mike Dunn and Del (Worsham) are Hall of Fame drivers so you want to be on lists with those guys. I really just want to get another win here because we have been grinding all season and we want to get four win lights on Sunday.”
Since 2014 Todd has won at least one NHRA national event and the 2018 Funny Car champion definitely wants to keep that streak alive. The DHL Camry Funny Car has two runner-up finishes including a close race at the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend. As a nine-time Funny Car winner Todd would love to get that tenth win in Houston.