Post-Race #VegasNats


J.R. Todd Races to Nevada Nationals Semifinals

J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car came into the NHRA Nevada Nationals looking to recapture their winning ways at the track located 20 minutes north of sin city. After four rounds of qualifying Todd entered race day as the No. 4 qualifier, his best starting performance of the season, and picked up two qualifying bonus points along the way. His qualifying run in the second session was the second quickest run and set the team up with a tune-up they could work with on race day.
Todd’s first round match up against two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon was a tough draw for a top four qualifier. Todd and his pink DHL Toyota Funny Car were up to the task outrunning Pedregon with a 3.944 second pass at 328.54 mph. Todd was first off the line with a .058 reaction time and the 2018 Funny Car world champion never trailed in the race.
The quarterfinal race against 16-time world champion John Force was the chance for Todd to avenge several early season losses. The DHL team led by crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer laid down a huge run to grab the round win lighting up the scoreboard with a 3.889 second run at 329.83 mph. Todd’s 3.889 second run was the quickest of the session and turned out to be the second quickest run of race day. Both round wins contributed to the Feeding America program with an additional 80,000 meals to the national organization working to end food instability across the country.
After the two win lights Todd faced No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight in the semifinals and in another close race Todd’s DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car was up to the task posting another strong run, a 3.989 second pass at 324.05 mph. Unfortunately, as good as Todd’s run was Hight was able to make a slightly quicker pass, 3.878 seconds, to end Todd’s race day with the quickest run of race day. Neither driver was stellar on the starting line when the tree fired and they were side-by-side as they raced down The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I’m really proud of the effort the guys put forth this weekend. I’m mad at myself for the semifinals,” said Todd, at the end of the day. “Rounds like that, late in the day – you have to be on your game on the starting line. I can be way better than that. I messed up on my part, but at the end of the day, we’ve got a good DHL Toyota heading into Pomona. It would be nice to close the season with a win for sure.”
The Auto Club Finals, November 11-13, will be Todd’s next chance to secure a win to close out the 2022 NHRA season.
Qualified: No. 4 (3.870 sec, 333.33 mph)
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q2)

Race Details:
First Round
Qual    Driver                     RT        ET        MPH
4          J.R. Todd           .058     3.944   328.54 (W)                                          
13        Cruz Pedregon   .115     3.992   281.54
Second Round
Qual    Driver                    RT        ET        MPH
4          J.R. Todd             .068     3.889   329.83 (W)
5          John Force           .036     3.957   328.06
Qual    Driver               RT        ET        MPH
4          J.R. Todd       .082     3.898   324.05
1          Robert Hight  .086     3.878   330.15 (W)


Langdon Takes DHL Toyota Top Fuel to Quarterfinals at Las Vegas

Racing the pink DHL Toyota Top Fuel dragster supporting breast cancer research and men’s health 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon rolled into the NHRA Nevada Nationals looking to finish the 2022 season strong. The multi-discipline driver who is the only driver in NHRA history to win national titles at the junior dragster, sportsman and professional level was looking to pick up his first Top Fuel win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Through two days of qualifying that included two runs on Friday and two on Saturday Langdon and his DHL Toyota dragster earned two qualifying bonus points and advanced into race day as the No. 5 qualifier in a stout Top Fuel field.
Langdon’s first round opponent was newcomer and developing driver Krista Baldwin, the No. 12 qualifier. The DHL dragster was first off the line and never trailed in the drag race posting a winning elapsed time of 3.770 seconds at 324.98 mph against Baldwin’s 3.879 second run at 293.03 mph. The win for Langdon meant a move to the quarterfinals, but also a donation of 40,000 meals to Feeding America, through a partnership with Kalitta Motorsports and primary sponsor DHL.
In the second round Langdon drew the eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher who was making his return to NHRA racing this season after a three-year hiatus from full-time racing. It was a battle between the No. 5 and No. 4 qualifier. Both dragsters took off nearly simultaneously and they were welded together going down the track. Schumacher was able to get the nose of his 11,000-horsepower dragster out in front and at the finish line Langdon’s 3.762 second pass at 324.44 mph was not enough to move him to the semifinals for the seventh time this season.
“I have had a great race car these last couple of races and I had a lot of confidence today thanks to the hard work of my crew chiefs Connie (Kalitta), Kurt (Elliott) and Jason (McCulloch),” said Langdon, a two-time finalist in 2022. “We have had some success in Pomona and this DHL Toyota dragster is very capable of winning.”
The quarterfinal finish ended Langdon’s streak of semifinals at two after strong outings in St. Louis and Dallas. The veteran driver will turn his attention to the Auto Club Finals to close out the season with a win.
Qualified: Qual. 5 (3.696 sec, 327.11 mph) 
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q3)

Race Details:
First Round
Qual    Driver                       RT        ET        MPH
5          Shawn Langdon  .081     3.770   324.98 (W)
12        Krista Baldwin      .118     3.879   293.03
Second Round
Qual    Driver                        RT        ET        MPH
5          Shawn Langdon    .055     3.762   324.44
4          Tony Schumacher   .050     3.764   327.27 (W)


Doug Kalitta and Mac Tools Turn Focus to Final Race of Season After Vegas

Veteran driver Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel team were looking at the NHRA Nevada Nationals as the chance to close out their season with a win and secure a third career Countdown national event win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Heading into race day as the No. 8 qualifier the 49-time Top Fuel national event winner, was facing Countdown competitor Antron Brown, the No. 9 qualifier. The two dragsters were only separated by .002 seconds in their best qualifying effort.
Kalitta was first off the line with a starting line reaction time advantage of .055 to .062 and as the Mac Tools dragster advanced off the starting line the perennial championship contender was on a smooth pass. Brown made his quickest pass of the weekend to get out in front of Kalitta to secure the win. Kalitta’s elapsed time of 3.751 seconds was slightly off his best qualifying run, but Brown’s 3.709 second pass held him off as he was charging to the finish line.
The final race of the season the Auto Club Finals will be held at a track Kalitta has won six times in previous seasons. The opportunity to finish the season with a 50th career win and momentum heading into the off-season is the goal for Kalitta and the Mac Tools team.
“We are going to put this race behind us and turn our attention to finishing the season on a high note,” said Kalitta. “I have a lot of confidence in this entire team from top to bottom. This weekend we didn’t have the success we wanted to, but we are going to take the positives and move on to Pomona.”
Qualified: No. 8 (3.708 sec, 324.51 mph) 
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:
First Round
Qual    Driver                 RT        ET        MPH
8          Doug Kalitta   .055     3.751   328.38
9          Antron Brown  .062     3.709   330.23 (W)