TOPEKA, KS (June 8, 2019) — The reigning NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champion, J.R. Todd, powered to the top of the Funny Car field at the Menard’s Heartland NHRA Nationals earning Kalitta Motorsports it’s 100th No. 1 qualifier. It was Todd’s second career Funny Car No. 1 qualifier and first of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA Season driving the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car.
On Friday during the second qualifying session of the Heartland NHRA Nationals Todd blasted to the top spot behind the wheel of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car with a 3.924 second run at 318.99 mph. Todd earned three valuable bonus points for the effort.
“It was a good run for sure,” said Todd, in the Heartland Park pressroom on Friday night. “(Crew Chiefs) Todd (Smith) and Jon (Oberhofer) said it ran quicker than what they expected. That was a good rebound run after the first session. We were conservative in that run and we spun the tires at half-track. That run was a good way to bounce back for the Yella Fellas for sure. It was a nice smooth run.”
Through two qualifying sessions on Saturday no Funny Car was able to approach Todd’s low elapsed time. At the end of the day Todd was reflective on the strength of his Friday night run and the significance of the 100th No. 1 for Team Kalitta.
“That is pretty awesome,” said Todd at the end of qualifying. “I don’t have too many No. 1 qualifiers under my belt so I would say most of those come from Doug Kalitta who is our leader at Kalitta Motorsports. That was a good run Friday night. We knew Q2 was going to be the best round of the weekend because the sun wasn’t going to be on the track and the conditions would be cooler. I feel like the last couple of races we have had a really good DHL Toyota Camry. We just haven’t broken through for another win but I think we have a really good car going into race day tomorrow.”
Todd’s Heartland Park performance was the 15th Funny Car No. 1 for Team Kalitta. Todd’s last No. 1 was the 2018 U.S. Nationals where he went on to win for the second consecutive year. He also has six No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel for Team Kalitta.
The fifteen Team Kalitta Funny Car No. 1 qualifiers have been earned by Todd (2) and Funny Car teammates Del Worsham (8), Alexis Dejoria (4) and the late Scott Kalitta (1).
Team Kalitta’s first No. 1 was earned by team owner and legendary Top Fuel driver Connie Kalitta at the 1980 Winternationals at 5.85 seconds. Doug Kalitta leads Team Kalitta with 49 No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel. His most recent No. 1 qualifier was the 2017 NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Funny Car driver Shawn Langdon qualified his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry in the No. 8 spot for Team Kalitta. The two Kalitta Top Fuel Dragsters will go into race day with Doug Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster No. 5 and Richie Crampton’s DHL dragster No. 7.