Todd takes over Funny Car points lead with fifth win of season
Race Recap: The incredible postseason run of J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team persisted with their fifth final round appearance in the past six events and third in a row. Unlike the previous two events that resulted in runner-up finishes for Todd, the DHL/WIX team was able to guide their Toyota Camry to the winner’s circle in Las Vegas.
Todd struggled through his first two qualifying runs on Friday, ending up 16th after one day. He vaulted up to the No. 2 qualifying spot on Saturday with a 3.911-second pass at 329.19 mph.
In round one of eliminations, Todd matched up against Richard Townsend and used a 3.935 at 321.27 to earn the victory as Townsend ran into early tire smoke and coasted to a finish.
After knocking off Robert Hight in the first round, Shawn Langdon awaited Todd in the quarterfinals. The DHL/WIX Camry was again up to the task, powering to a 3.957 at 320.36 as Langdon also ran into trouble and coasted across the finish line.
In the semifinals, Todd was paired up with Jack Beckman, and the two had one of the closest side-by-side runs of the day with Todd again turning on the win lights with a 3.906 at 327.11 to a 3.937 at 327.09.
In his third consecutive final round and seventh of the season, Todd emerged victorious over Matt Hagan for his fifth win of the 2019 season.
With the win, Todd now has a 74-point lead in the Funny Car standings heading into the NHRA Finals in Pomona, as he will look to secure his first world championship at the season-closing event.
Qualified: No. 2 (3.911 sec., 327.19 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Townsend – 3.935 sec., 321.27 mph to 6.782 at 98.32 mph
E2: Todd defeated Langdon – 3.957 sec., 320.36 mph to 5.134 at 145.96 mph
E3: Todd defeated Beckman – 3.906 sec., 327.11 mph to 3.937 sec., 327.90 mph
E4: Todd defeated Hagan – 3.921 sec., 318.39 mph to 4.087 at 263.62 mph
Quotable: “We qualified 16th on Friday and then we were bumped from the field before we ran in Q3 on Saturday. We were really aggressive in Q3 and ran a 3.91 and ended up second. That just goes to show how hard these DHL Toyota guys work. We had some issues on Friday and they stayled late and changed the entire fuel system. We came out and made two really good runs on Saturday. Then today, we were pretty much flawless. It’s so awesome to drive a car like that when it’s so consistent that you don’t have to worry if you have to go out and pedal it. You just go up there and smack the tree as hard as you can and get after it. It’s a lot of fun to drive, but we still have some unfinished business in Pomona. Hopefully, we can go out there and win two trophies.”
Point Standings: First; leads Robert Hight by 74 points for second.
Crampton reaches semifinals at Toyota Nationals
Race Recap: After some struggles and inconsistency throughout qualifying, Crampton and the CRAFTSMAN team entered race day at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway looking for improved success on the track.
Qualifying concluded with Crampton sitting in the No. 11 qualifying spot, and his 3.797 at 314.02 was enough to take down his teammate Doug Kalitta in round one of Sunday’s eliminations. In the matchup with Kalitta, Crampton was unable to leave first with his .071 light, but was able to cruise past Kalitta who hit some tire smoke and slowed to the finish.
During the quarterfinals, Crampton matched up against defending world champion Brittany Force, and used a 4.232 at 242.23 to reach his third semifinal round of the season.
Steve Torrence awaited Crampton in the semifinals, and for the first time all day Crampton and the CRAFTSMAN team were unable to put together a clean run. Torrence was first off the tree and put together a stout run, as Crampton hazed the tires and coasted to a 4.233 at 223.54 to end his day at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Qualified: No. 11 (3.799 sec., 318.39 mph)
E1: Crampton defeated Kalitta – 3.797 sec., 314.02 mph to 4.219 sec., 216.06 mph
E2: Crampton defeated B. Force – 3.766 sec., 321.96 mph to 4.232 sec., 242.23 mph
E3: Crampton defeated by S. Torrence – 4.233 sec., 223.54 mph to 3.724 sec., 330.15 mph
Quotable: “Overall, it was a good weekend. This is a big race for us at the Toyota Nationals and we’ve been wanting to do well before the year is out for both CRAFTSMAN and Toyota. Going a couple of rounds felt good. Connie and the team did a great job. Coming up short against the now world champion still kind of stinks, but at the end of the day he won the championship for a reason. I’m looking forward to Pomona.”
Langdon drops second round matchup against teammate Todd
Race Recap: After a consistent weekend of qualifying from the Global Electronic Technology team, Shawn Langdon and crew were able to continue that success in his first round matchup of eliminations at the NHRA Toyota Nationals.
After three out of four qualifying runs under four seconds, Langdon and the team put together their best run of the weekend in their most important run of the Countdown to the Championship.
In round one, Langdon matched up against Robert Hight, who entered competition as the Funny Car points leader. Although Langdon was not able to get off the tree first, the Global Electronic Technology machine used a 3.922 at 325.85 to take down Hight and allow for J.R. Todd to take over the points lead in the class.
In the quarterfinals, Langdon faced off against his teammate Todd, and ran into tire smoke around half-track as Todd turned on the win light.
With one race remaining on the season, the 2013 Top Fuel champion will hope to close out 2018 with his first career Funny Car win.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.965 sec., 319.67 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated Hight – 3.922 sec., 325.85 mph to 4.643 sec., 186.41 mph
E2: Langdon defeated by Todd – 5.134 sec., 145.96 mph to 3.957 sec., 320.36 mph
Quotable: “The Global Electronics Technology Toyota guys did a great job on that first run against Robert (Hight). That’s what we were looking for all weekend. That was the run we were shooting for in qualifying with a 3.92, but we weren’t able to get it. We just had a few little things that we needed to work through. The guys just did an excellent job. Unfortunately, we’ve slid out of the championship, so at this point we just wanted to step up and help J.R. in the championship by beating Robert. Those are the moments why I love racing in the Countdown with this playoff scenario. Those are the moments when you feel your heart is going to beat through your chest.”
Point Standings: Tenth; trails John Force by 73 points for ninth.
Kalitta knocked out by teammate Crampton in first round at Las Vegas
Race Recap: The four qualifying passes from the MAC Tools team were not as consistent as Doug Kalitta would have liked on Friday and Saturday, and those troubles continued into race day at the Toyota Nationals.
Kalitta entered Sunday sixth in the qualifying order, but the MAC Tools group ran into early tire smoke and finished with a 4.219 at 216.06 to fall against his teammate, Richie Crampton, in the first round of eliminations.
With only one race remaining on the season, Kalitta is hoping to go two-for-two in Pomona by securing his second win of the season at the site of his lone win in 2018, Auto Club Speedway.
Qualified: No. 6 (3.742 sec., 326.00 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Crampton – 4.219 sec., 216.06 mph to 3.797 sec., 314.02 mph
Quotable: “This was a tricky weekend for this Mac Tools team, and we had hoped for more success in Las Vegas. With only one race left in the season, we are going to head to Pomona looking to close out the year with a win.”
Point Standings: Tied-Seventh; leads Terry McMillen by six points for ninth; trails Antron Brown by 32 points for sixth