Toyota Pomona NHRA Winternationals Preview
Todd Begins Title Defense…
J.R. Todd will begin his title defense at the same Pomona track where he clinched his first Funny Car championship with a victory in November. In just his second season in a Funny Car, Todd stormed to the title by winning three of six races in the Countdown and advancing to the finals in five. He earned a 20-3 record in the Countdown. Overall, Todd led the series in wins (six), round wins (44) and semi-final round appearances (13). He will head into the season-opener off a strong showing at the NHRA Spring Training in Phoenix, where he ran the second-quickest pass of the week and registered a top-three pass in Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s testing.
Langdon Ready To Break Through in Funny Cars…
After going through expected growing pains in his inaugural season in a Funny Car in 2018, Shawn Langdon appears ready to break through to earn his first win in the upcoming season. Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion, was second-quickest in Saturday’s Spring Training testing session despite an early shut-down and also placed third in Friday’s testing. Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology Camry team was strengthened early last week with the announcement that Del Worsham would join the Kalitta Motorsports operation as a co-crew chief on the car along with Nicky Boninfante. The Worsham/Boninfante duo has already captured one world championship for the team back in 2015, when Worsham drove to the Funny Car title with Boninfante serving as co-crew chief.
Todd/Langdon Seek To Join Select Company…
Camry drivers Todd and Langdon each will look to become just the fourth driver in history to win the NHRA Winterntionals in both a Funny Car and a Top Fueler this weekend. Should either find their way to Victory Lane, they would join NHRA legends Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi in winning in both Nitro classes.
Kalitta Tries to Repeat at Winternationals…Doug Kalitta will be looking for his second consecutive Lucas Oil Winternationals title this weekend after defeating Tony Schumacher in the finals last season. Kalitta also won the Winternationals in 2009.
Toyota Drivers Shine in Southern California Sun…
Toyota supported drivers have won at Pomona 19 times, including 14 victories in the last 19 Top Fuel races. In addition, Toyota Funny Car drivers have won on five occasions in Pomona, including J.R. Todd’s win in the most recent ever and the manufacturer’s first-ever NHRA triumph by Jerry Tolliver at the 2004 Winternationals.
J.R. Todd, DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: “We want to go out there and qualify solid and then come out of there with a Winternationals trophy, that’s the goal. We won the Winternationals in Top Fuel in 2007. It would be huge to win here in Funny Car because there are only a few people that have won the Winternationals in both Top Fuel and Funny Car (Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi). If I could add my name to that list of drivers it would be pretty special for me because those guys are all my heroes.”
Shawn Langdon, Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car:“I love Pomona. I always enjoy going back. I grew going to the track to watch my heroes and trying to get autographs. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of success on the track there, winning in junior dragsters and in the sportsman classes and winning four times in Top Fuel. It’s also where we clinched the Top Fuel championship. To start the season off with a win there would be monumental for this team.”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “We really want a win. We’ve been the runner-up and we’ve lost in the semis, but we’ve never won the Winternationals. It’s one of the most prestigious races we run and it would be huge to win here. It’s the way we want to start off and let everyone know we’re there.”