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J.R. Todd, DHL Team Ready to Rebound

NHRA/National Dragster photo

For the first time this season, J.R. Todd and his DHL GR Supra team did not reach the semifinals in Chicago. The disappointing result has Todd looking to rebound with stronger qualifying to start the weekend. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes May 31-June 2, 2024 at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.

Despite the speed bump, Todd still reached at least the semifinals at five of the season’s first six races and sits fourth in points with one win in two final-round appearances. He enters New England seeking his first win at the New Hampshire race track and stronger qualifying for a stronger start to the weekend, and with a cool, crisp New England forecast, the Epping race track could yield some epic numbers.

“We have to go down the track in Q1 (first qualifying session) to set ourselves up for Q2,” Todd said. “If we can do that, we’re not kind of ‘tip toeing’ to get down the track Friday night when you need to throw down and make your best run of the weekend – that’s the start. We have to stay aggressive more than anything. The cars in front of us, week in, week out, are qualifying at the top and setting themselves up for Sunday. That’s something we’ve struggled with lately. That’s kind of been our Achilles heel for the last however many seasons. We’ve been struggling to find the consistency we need to qualify better, get those qualifying points and ultimately get those points on Sunday.”

For the first time this season, Todd is not participating in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge featuring a rematch of the semifinals and final from the last race. Among his goals this weekend is earning a return to the special event next week in Bristol, Tenn.

“My goal was to make all of the Mission (#2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge) races, but that was gonna be a hard goal to accomplish,” Todd said. “Sometimes, when you’re not in that deal, you can focus more on qualifying as opposed to going down the track to collect that bonus money and bonus points. At the end of the day, I’ll take those points as much as we can get them. It’s a bummer not to be in it this weekend, but if we do our jobs, we’ll be back soon.”

And pulling for the DHL team will be the rabid New England fan base which seems not only starved for live drag racing but genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to watch the best and brightest of NHRA Drag Racing.  

“It’s a different fan base from what we see in other parts of the country,” Todd added. “It’s an old school fan base that’s really appreciative of us being there. There’s not much drag racing in the Northeast so they’re really excited for us to be there in New England once a year – they’re definitely passionate about the sport. It’s one of the only places I know of where the fans thank us for being there.”

This story was originally published on May 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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