J.R. Todd Ready to Keep Momentum Rolling in Denver
Through ten races this season J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team have raced to three semifinal finishes and three quarterfinal finishes. The consistency has begun to turn into momentum with Todd racing to the semifinals in two of the last three national events. Currently sitting in seventh place in the points standings just three rounds out of the top five the 2018 Funny Car world champion is eager to get the Western Swing underway.
“These next three races will be a lot of fun and a great chance for us to make a move up in the points with this DHL Toyota GR Supra,” said Todd. “We have definitely turned a corner I feel and getting back on track at the Mile High Nationals will be a great chance for us to keep the momentum going.”
Todd has two victories at the Mile High Nationals picking up Top Fuel wins in 2006 and 2014. A Funny Car win this weekend would make him just the third winner of both nitro classes at Bandimere Speedway. The previous two drivers to achieve that feat are Hall of Famers Kenny Bernstein and Mike Dunn.
“My two Top Fuel wins at the Mile High Nationals are great memories and I would love to add a Funny Car win to my resume here,” said Todd, a 10-time Funny Car national event winner. “Any time you can add your name to a list that has Kenny Bernstein and Mike Dunn on it you know you have done something special. These DHL guys have been giving me a great car this season and I would love to get it into the winner’s circle this weekend.”
Over the off-season the team put the finishing touches on the brand-new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car body. Todd and the team of Toyota Gazoo Racing North America engineers and designers tested in the off-season to bring this sleek and powerful race car to life for the first time this season. Todd was instrumental in giving firsthand feedback from the cockpit and he would like nothing more than to as to Toyota racing legacy with more Funny Car titles.
“We put a lot of man hours into this design and I can tell we are getting better every race,” said Todd. “Any time you bring out a new design there are going to be issues, but we have been addressing them and getting better. There are six races left in the regular season and then the Countdown starts. I want to keep building momentum and go into the playoffs on a hot streak.”
The three race Western Swing will be a prime opportunity for Todd and the DHL team to continue to add rounds on their opponents. Qualifying will begin for Todd and the DHL Toyota team on Friday evening with two rounds followed by two more rounds on Saturday. Final eliminations will begin at noon local time with FOX broadcasting the race from 4 p.m. – 7 pm. ET.
2021 NHRA Mile High Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Last Event Recap 2022 Norwalk Nationals: Qual 7; Beat Blake Alexander, John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Career Stats: 265 events, 257 starts, 290 round wins, 19 wins, 40 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 113 events, 113 starts, 10 wins, 20 finals, 142 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Beat Bobby Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Arizona Nationals: Qual 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Gatornationals: Qual 11; Lost to Blake Alexander
Las Vegas1: Qual 9; Beat Tim Wilkerson and Jason Rupert; Lost to Ron Capps and Matt Hagan
Houston: Qual 13; Beat Bob Tasca III, Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Charlotte1: Qual 6; Beat Dale Creasy Jr, Chad Green; Lost to Ron Capps, Mike McIntire
Richmond: Qual 5; Lost to John Force
Epping: Qual 10; Beat Blake Alexander, Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Bristol: Qual 11; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Norwalk: Qual 7; Beat Blake Alexander, John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Langdon Ready for Victory at Mile High Nationals
The DHL Toyota Top Fuel team and driver Shawn Langdon will be looking to continue their recent wave of success as the Western Swing gets underway this weekend at the Mile High Nationals. Over the past three race Langdon has scored a runner-up finish and a semifinal finish to move up to seventh place in the Top Fuel point standings. The 2013 Top Fuel world champion is just three rounds out of fifth place. The veteran driver will be looking for his first win at Bandimere Speedway when the race gets underway with two rounds of qualifying on Friday.
“Racing at the Mile High Nationals is a unique experience,” said Langdon. “The crew chiefs have their hands full, but I just try and treat it like any other race. I like the fact that we will get four rounds of qualifying. That is good for the fans and it gives the teams more information for race day.”
Langdon’s team is led by drag racing legend Connie Kalitta along with veteran crew chiefs Kurt Elliott and Jason McCulloch. Throughout the season the DHL team has been steadily improving in qualifying and one race day.
“I have a lot of confidence every time I get into this DHL race car,” said Langdon. “Connie, Kurt and Jason are working on the best tune-up possible and I am trying to be the best I can off the starting line. It is a team effort to get every win light.”
Recognized as one of the best drivers off the starting line Langdon has been keeping his reaction time skills sharp by racing his Super Comp dragster at regional races between national events. During the Thunder Valley Nationals earlier this season Langdon won the Super Comp class and was runner-up in Top Fuel narrowly missing the rare double up win. The extra seat time gives Langdon a great metal edge when it comes to driving his 11,000 horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster.
“Any time you can make passes down the track I think you get better as a driver,” said Langdon. “When I am racing two classes at an event, I am in race mode the whole day. You can’t simulate that kind of intensity and I think I do race better when I am in the car a lot. I get a lot of enjoyment out of racing Super Comp and Top Fuel for sure.”
Langdon and the DHL Top Fuel team will get their first crack at Bandimere Speedway on Friday evening for two rounds of qualifying. On Saturday two more rounds will set the team up to be one of the 16 quickest race cars with a chance to race for the Wally trophy on Sunday.
2021 NHRA Mile High Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Clay Millican
Last Event Recap 2022 Norwalk Nationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Tripp Tatum
Career Stats: 297 events, 293 starts, 318 round wins, 17 wins, 36 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 249 events, 245 starts, 15 wins, 33 finals, 279 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Lost to Josh Hart
Arizona Nationals: Qual 7; Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Gatornationals: Qual 21; DNQ
Las Vegas1: Qual 11; Beat Doug Kalitta and Rob Passey; Lost to Steve Torrence and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual 10; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual 14; Lost to Clay Millican, Josh Hart
Richmond: Qual 12; Beat Doug Foley; Lost to Brittany Force
Epping: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Doug Kalitta; Lost to Justin Ashley
Bristol: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Spencer Massey, Mike Salinas, Antron Brown; Lost to Justin Ashley
Norwalk: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Tripp Tatum
Doug Kalitta Racing for Another Mile High Nationals Win and Strong Western Swing
Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel team will be returning to Bandimere Speedway this weekend for the 42nd NHRA Mile High Nationals, one of the longest running races on the Camping World Drag Racing Series. Kalitta Motorsports as a team has a storied history at the track carved into the side of the mountains just outside of Denver with team owner Connie Kalitta and his son Scott Kalitta recognized as multi-time Top Fuel winners. Throughout his career Doug Kalitta has raced to six final rounds at the Mile High Nationals with one victory in 2010 and his most recent final round appearance in 2018.
“The Kalittas have a lot of history at the Mile High Nationals for sure,” said Kalitta, a 49-time Top Fuel national event winner. “The Bandimere family has done an awesome job with this track and promoting this race. It is a one of the biggest races of the season and we are looking forward to starting the Western Swing this weekend.”
The three race Western Swing begins with the Mile High Nationals this weekend and then travels to Sonoma, California before concluding in Seattle, Washington. Kalitta has enjoyed success at all three locations and a second victory at Bandimere Speedway would put him in line to possibly sweep the swing.
“Getting three wins in a row anytime is quite an accomplishment but to sweep the Western Swing would be a great achievement,” said Kalitta. “We have a race car that can win races and we just need to translate our qualifying success to race day success.”
Throughout the season Kalitta’s Mac Tools Top Fuel team has made the most of qualifying and they have turned on corner on race day. Over the past four races Kalitta has advanced to the quarterfinals three times. The team grabbed the No. 1 qualifier earlier this season at the Arizona Nationals. In 2002 Kalitta had the quickest dragster in qualifying for the Mile High Nationals. Currently, sitting in ninth place in the point standings the Mac Tools team has the teams just in front of them within striking distance.
“There are a bunch of teams grouped together in the bottom half of the Top Ten and we are definitely looking to make a move to get up in the points,” said Kalitta. “There are six races to go before the Countdown starts and we want to get as close to No. 1 as possible for the playoffs.”
In addition to Mac Tools Kalitta’s dragster will highlight enhanced branding from Revchem Composites during the Western Swing. As an industry leading composite materials distributor and technical resource Revchem is involved with many industries, from surfing to aerospace and everything in between. The company was an integral part of the Toyota GR Supra Funny Car redesign and continues to make contributions to the team throughout the season.
2021 NHRA Mile High Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 4, Lost to Leah Pruett
Last Event Recap 2022 Norwalk Nationals: Qual. No. 6, Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Career Stats: 554 events, 547 starts, 729 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Arizona Nationals: Qual. 1; Lost to Rob Passey
Gatornationals: Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Las Vegas1: Qual 6; Lost to Leah Pruett and Shawn Langdon
Houston: Qual 3; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual 4; Beat Alex Laughlin, Doug Foley; Lost to Mike Salinas, Cameron Ferre
Richmond: Qual 6; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Austin Prock
Epping: Qual 4; Beat Cameron Ferre; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Bristol: Qual 12; Lost to Brittany Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 6, Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas