Charlotte, NC – Todd With Strong Start In Countdown…J.R. Todd opened up the Countdown to the Championship playoffs with a strong start in advancing to the semifinals at Maple Grove. It marked the fourth time that the DHL Toyota Camry has gone to the semifinals or beyond in the last five races as he pursues a second Funny Car world championship in five years after claiming his first crown in 2018. Todd has a stellar 24-13 round win-loss record this season.
Langdon’s Charlotte Success…zMAX Dragway has a number of fond memories for Shawn Langdon. He earned his first-ever Top Fuel win at the track in Fall 2012 and then went on to claim his first Funny Car triumph in the 2019 Four-Wides becoming just the 16th driver in history to win in both Nitro categories.
MOHNTON, PA – J.R. Todd kicked off his hunt for a second Funny Car world championship by advancing to the semifinals in his DHL Toyota Camry for the fourth time in the last five races to lead Toyota in Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the opening race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Todd opened his day with a match-up against fellow Camry driver Alexis DeJoria. Todd had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win as he ran a 3.919 to DeJoria’s 3.999. That set-up a showdown with top qualifier Cruz Pedregon in round two, but it was never in doubt as Todd again had the advantage on the tree and led all the way down the track with a margin of victory of 0.0652 seconds or approximately 30 feet to improve his career mark against Pedregon to 10-2.
The win sent Todd up against Tommy Johnson in the semifinals. Todd would lay down his best pass of the weekend, but fell just short to Johnson in an epic battle, 3.902-3.905.
MOHNTON, PA – J.R. Todd qualified in seventh in Funny Car, while Antron Brown did the same in Top Fuel to lead Toyota into Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Todd ran a 3.916 at 330.31 mph in his final run to jump up to seventh. He’s one spot ahead of fellow Camry driver Alexis DeJoria, who placed eighth with a 3.940. The two Toyota drivers will meet in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
Brown was the quickest Toyota Top Fuel driver, moving up to seventh after registering the fourth-quickest pass of the final qualifying session with a 3.731-second pass at 329.34 mph. He will face Leah Pruett on Sunday.
Mohnton, PA – Maple Grove Special For Todd…Maple Grove Raceway is a special place for J.R. Todd after he opened his run to the 2018 Funny Car world championship with a win to begin the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The victory was the first of three playoff victories for Todd in 2018. That triumph also cemented Todd a place in the history books as the DHL Toyota driver joined Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi as the only drivers to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at the Pennsylvania track.
Brown Eyes Another PA Win…Antron Brown will be looking to earn his third victory in the last six events at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend. He defeated Tony Schumacher for the Wally in 2015 and Brittany Force in 2016. Brown went on to win the Top Fuel world championship both years. He’ll enter this year’s Countdown in third place.
INDIANAPOLIS. IN – Alexis DeJoria drove her Bandero Toyota Camry to the semifinals in Funny Car to lead Toyota in Sunday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. It marked the third time in the last six races DeJoria has advanced to the semifinals or beyond.
After qualifying seventh, her day began with an opening round victory over Blake Alexander. That would set up a match-up with number two qualifier Bob Tasca. The two left virtually side-by-side, with DeJoria going straight down the groove with a good clean pass for the win. In the semifinals against Ron Capps, the Toyota driver had the starting line advantage by .014 and both cars made strong runs, but Capps took the win. DeJoria would have beaten both cars in the other semifinal.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Doug Kalitta placed third in Top Fuel, while teammate J.R. Todd placed fifth in Funny Car to lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway after rain washed out Saturday’s final two qualifying sessions.
Kalitta ran a 3.751-second pass at 317.05 mph on Friday night to secure the third spot. With the strong run, he officially clinched his spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Playoffs, becoming the fifth Toyota driver to secure a playoff berth. Kalitta will face Krista Baldwin in the opening round of Sunday eliminations.
After qualifying fifth with a 3.905 at 326.93 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry, Todd will enter eliminations in third place in the Funny Car point standings – just seven points out of the championship lead at the final race of the NHRA regular season. He will square off against Jim Campbell in round one.
Indianapolis, IN – Todd Eyes #1 Seed, Third U.S. Nationals Win…J.R. Todd will enter this weekend’s U.S. Nationals hoping to secure the number one seed in Funny Car for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. After advancing to two final rounds and a semifinal in the last three races, Todd is just 15 points out of the Funny Car point lead. His hunt for the number one seed comes at the race where he’s enjoyed more success than any other on the circuit since moving to Funny Car. In four previous U.S. Nationals, the Indiana native who grew up racing at the track in Junior Dragsters has earned two victories (2017 and 2018), one runner-up (2020) and one semifinal (2019) on the way to a 13-2 round win-loss record.
Langdon Looks To Repeat…Shawn Langdon will be looking for his second consecutive U.S. Nationals victory after defeating Leah Pruett in last year’s final round. Langdon also won the 2013 U.S. Nationals on the way to earning the Top Fuel world championship. While the DHL Toyota driver will be looking to go back-to-back in Top Fuel, it’s not the only title he will be chasing as he also will be racing in the Sportsman Super Comp class.