TODD ADVANCES TO THIRD COUNTDOWN FINAL AT CHARLOTTE NHRA
CHARLOTTE, NC – J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car to the final round for the third time in four playoff races before falling to Ron Capps at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at the zMAX Dragway in Charlotte Sunday.
With the strong showing, Todd has closed to within 11 points of the championship lead with two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. In addition, he’s registered a 16-3 round record over the last five races. Overall, his 36 round wins this season more than doubles the total of his rookie Funny Car season (17) in 2017.
On Sunday, Todd stormed through the first three rounds, defeating Jonnie Linderg, Cruz Pedregon and John Force all by a margin of victory of .040 or more. After securing lane choice over Capps in the final, he jumped out to the lead with a .026 advantage at the light. Todd stayed out front through the 330-foot mark, but lost traction at approximately 400 feet, giving Capps the victory. He had run six consecutive passes of 3.929 or better, including four in the 3.8s before the finals.
“You never want to go to the final and lose,” said Todd. “It would have been nice to leave here with the points lead, but at least we’ve cut it down to less than a round. It’s definitely a battle. We’ve got a really good hot rod right now. The consistency of the DHL/Wix Filters Toyota has just seemed to come around at the right time. I’ve never really been in this position, but I’m really enjoying it. We’re just taking it one round at a time. Hopefully, we can carry that into the last two races. If we can go to the next two finals, I like our chances.”
Todd wasn’t the only Camry driver to shine this weekend as Pedregon had another strong outing at the Charlotte track he won at earlier this season. After earning the fifth spot in qualifying, he then defeated Courtney Force in round one. In the second round, he ran a 3.94, only to fall to Todd, who registered a 3.91.
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta advanced to the second round with an impressive 3.718-second pass in a win over Scott Palmer. He turned in another strong pass in the second round with a 3.743, but was eliminated by Mike Salinas.
Antron Brown and Richie Crampton each made strong runs in the opening round of Top Fuel only to come up just short. Brown lost to Tony Schumacher after running a 3.73, while Crampton fell to Leah Pritchett despite running a 3.75.
After taking next weekend off, the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Las Vegas for the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 26-28, in the penultimate round of the championship.