J.R. Todd Wants to Keep Momentum Going

YPSILANTI, Mich. (May 14, 2024) – The season’s first quarter went pretty well for J.R. Todd and his DHL GR Supra team. Now, the trick is to keep it going. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes May 17-19, 2024 at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

After the first five races of the 2024 season, things are pretty good for Todd and his DHL team. They won the season’s first race and have advanced to at least the semifinals at each race this season including a final-round appearance in Las Vegas.

“We are definitely ready to get back on track and try to keep our momentum going,” Todd said. “It’s definitely nice to make it to the later rounds on race day, and we want to keep that going. As long as we keep making those Mission Foods races, we’ll be in pretty good shape. That’s what I said after we won that first race of the season. If we can make all of those, we should be in a good points position. So far, we’re on track to do that so we just have to stick to the plan and keep making runs down the track and going to those later rounds.”

When Todd advanced to the four-wide final round in Charlotte two weeks ago, he earned a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge this week. During Saturday’s qualifying sessions, the drivers who reached the four-wide final round in Charlotte will re-run the semifinals and finals in the two-wide format earning additional purse and championship bonus points.

With its lofty performance in the first quarter of the season, the DHL team is second in points – a far cry from one year ago when the team was mired in 11th place. The enhanced performance makes everyone happier and more confident, but everyone on this team knows room for improvement remains.

“I can’t really explain how we are so much better than we were this time last year,” the 2018 NHRA Funny Car champion said. “We’re second in points, we’re the only team that hasn’t lost in the first round yet this season, but we’re not getting great elapsed times on race day so we definitely still have room for improvement. We have to keep working on our consistency and keep going down the track. I also want to make the Pep Boys All-Star Callout at Indy and be in the top half of that field – that all stems back to qualifying so we definitely need to work on that going forward.

“We need find a hundredth (of a second) here or there to hopefully keep up with the fast guys that are ahead of us week in and week out and going to the later rounds on race day. I know we can do it – we just have to keep working to find that missing piece of the puzzle.”

Race Information:

Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals Route 66 Raceway; Joliet, Ill.

TV Schedule (All times eastern):   

  • Qualifying Show 1: 7:30-9 p.m. Friday, May 17 on FS1
  • Qualifying Show 2: 1-2 p.m. Sunday, May 19 on FS1
  • Finals Round 1: 4-5 p.m. Sunday, May 19 on FS1
  • Finals: 10 p.m.-Midnight, Sunday, May 19 on FS1

2023 NHRA Route 66 Nationals Recap: Qualified No. 3; lost to Bob Tasca.

Funny Car Career Stats: 303 events, 21 wins, 25 runner-up, 336 round wins, 14 No. 1 qualifiers.

2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Results To Date:

  • Gainesville: Qualified No. 6; defeated Blake Alexander, Ron Capps, Bob Tasca and Austin Prock.
  • Pomona: Qualified No. 11; defeated Cruz Pedregon and Paul Lee; lost to Matt Hagan.
  • Phoenix: Qualified No. 5; defeated Cruz Pedregon and John Force before losing to Austin Prock.
  • Las Vegas 4W: Qualified No. 3; defeated D. Wilkerson, D. Richards before losing to M. Hagan and R. Capps
  • Charlotte 4W: Qualified No. 12; defeated Ron Capps and Buddy Hull in the first round, Cruz Pedregon and John Force in the semifinals before beating John Force but losing to Matt Hagan and Daniel Wilkerson in the final round.