Todd secures second consecutive runner-up finish as he closes Funny Car points gap
Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team continued their incredible streak of consistency with a final round appearance for the fourth time in the past five events. Unfortunately, for just the second time in six final round appearances this season, Todd was not able to earn the Wally.
Todd continued his incredibly consistent racing with four consecutive qualifying runs under the four-second range. He ended up fourth in qualifying for the second straight week and drove to a 3.874 at 330.55 to take down Jonnie Lindberg in the first round of eliminations.
In the quarterfinals, Todd lined up against Cruz Pedregon. The DHL team, led by Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith, powered Todd to a 3.919-second pass to give him the victory against Pedregon.
Todd lined up with John Force in the semifinals and despite getting off the tree first, was able to earn the win with a 3.891 at 326.48.
In the finals, Todd matched up with Ron Capps. The DHL/WIX Filters team had their first four-second run of the weekend, and were unable to chase down Capps who ended up victorious.
Qualified: No. 4 (3.894 sec., 327.90 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Lindberg – 3.874 sec., 330.55 mph to 3.964 at 325.22
E2: Todd defeated Pedregon – 3.919 sec., 325.53 mph to 3.943 at 306.46
E3: Todd defeated J. Force – 3.891 sec., 326.48 mph to 3.968 sec., 331.12 mph
E4: Todd defeated by Capps – 3.890 sec., 331.20 mph to 4.311 at 214.96
Quotable: “You never want to go to the final and lose. 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 fun, and 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.”
Point Standings: Second; trails Robert Hight by 11 points for first; leads Ron Capps by 98 points for third
Kalitta eliminated in tight quarterfinal matchup against Salinas
Race Recap: After four consecutive strong passes from Doug Kalitta during qualifying, the MAC Tools team was once again up to the task of producing strong runs on Sunday.
Kalitta entered Sunday as the No. 5 qualifier, and the MAC Tools crew put up a solid 3.718 at 326.00 mph to take down Scott Palmer in the first round.
Kalitta was knocked out in the quarterfinals at zMAX Dragway despite a strong 3.741 at 328.30, as Mike Salinas was able to outrun him in the second round.
With two races remaining on the season, Kalitta is hoping to reach the winner’s circle for the first time since the season-opening Pomona event.
Qualified: No. 5 (3.727 sec., 327.59 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Palmer – 3.718 sec., 329.42 mph to 3.788 sec., 326.00 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by Salinas – 3.723 sec., 329.83 mph to 3.741 sec., 328.30 mph
Quotable: “We felt like we had a really good handle on the track this weekend, but Mike [Salinas] and his team made a good run. This MAC Tools has figured things out recently and we feel really confident going into the final two races of the year.”
Point Standings: Eighth; leads Terry McMillen by four points for ninth; trails Mike Salinas by three points for seventh
Langdon runs into tire smoke and drops first round race with Hagan
Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team found some consistency in qualifying, but struggled in their first round matchup of eliminations at the NHRA Carolina Nationals.
After three out of four qualifying runs coming in at 4.000 seconds or lower, Langdon was unable to put together a clean pass on Sunday.
In the first round of eliminations, Langdon did get off the tree first, as his .054 off the line was better than Hagan’s .064. The Global Electronic Technology team unfortunately ran into almost instantaneous tire smoke and coasted across the finish line at 9.638 at 78.22 mph.
With two races remaining in the 2018 season, Langdon and his team are hoping to get back on track and lock down his first career Funny Car win.
Qualified: No. 11 (3.937 sec., 318.02 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated by Hagan – 3.891 sec., 328.62 mph to 9.638 sec., 78.22 mph
Quotable: “We obviously weren’t happy with that run today, but overall it wasn’t a bad weekend for this team. We have two races left to make some noise in the Countdown and our focus is still on getting that first Funny Car win.
Point Standings: Tenth; trails Jack Beckman by 52 points for ninth.
Crampton falls in round one matchup at Charlotte
Race Recap: Richie Crampton and the CRAFTSMAN team made improvements throughout qualifying and brought them into race day at zMAX Dragway.
Qualifying concluded with Crampton sitting in the No. 10 qualifying spot, and his 3.774 at 318.99 showed continued improvements that the team has made in recent weeks.
In his first round matchup with Pritchett, Crampton left first with a .068 light, but Pritchett was able to overcome that starting line edge and turn on the win light. Crampton was unable to run down his opponent and now hopes that his team can continue their improvements in the final two races of the 2018 campaign.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.774 sec., 318.99 mph)
E1: Crampton defeated by Pritchett – 3.707 sec., 324.67 mph to 3.750 sec., 317.79 mph
Quotable: “We had some good runs this weekend but it really comes down to us qualifying better. This CRAFTSMAN team responded well to the cooler conditions we had today, so it was really impressive to see how well this team reacted.”