Consistency. It’s the main ingredient in the recipe of drag racing success, and two weeks ago, during a double race weekend in Tennessee, J.R. Todd and his DHL Toyota GR Supra team found a bit of what has largely been a missing ingredient this season. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 23-25, 2023, in Norwalk, Ohio.
Entering that double-dip weekend, the team had visions of capitalizing on a weekend of opportunity. While it didn’t earn either of the trophies, it did find some missing consistency and post four qualifying efforts within .107 seconds, reaching the semifinals of the weather-delayed NHRA New England Nationals.
“It was nice to go some rounds,” Todd said following his semifinal effort in Bristol qualifying, which doubled as New England Nationals eliminations. “We’ve definitely been struggling on that end. The car has gone down the track every run, just need to be a tick quicker. We didn’t qualify like we had hoped, but at the end of the day, we’ve gone down the track every run so far. That is something to build off of. You learn every time you go down the track.”
That consistency did not extend into the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals eliminations when the DHL Toyota GR Supra experienced mechanical difficulties in a first-round matchup with John Force, causing the engine to shut off automatically. While knowledge gained through those consistent rounds may not be useful immediately, knowledge gained is always a good thing.
“The Bristol air condition and track condition are really different from a lot of places we run so we take notes, keep those notes, and when we come into conditions like those in the future, we’ll be able to fall back on them,” Todd added. “We always learn when we go down the track – I don’t see Norwalk being like it was in Bristol, but you never know.”
Races at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, are some of the best-attended on the circuit. It is a track at which fans are enthusiastic about their racing and their ice cream. The track is known for selling ice cream by the pound, and for the 2018 Funny Car champion, it’s a race where the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, native spent some time growing up so it can be considered a home race for him as well as Kalitta Motorsports.
“It’s another track where I grew up racing as a kid somewhat close to home, and it’s the home race for everybody at Kalitta Motorsports,” Todd said. “The Bader family does a great job promoting races – they’re one of the best in the business. The fans always pack the grandstands there, and at the end of the day, we’re here to put on a good show for them. It’s the closest race to the race shop so it’s an opportunity for families and everybody who works in the CNC shop, the Fab shop and the front office who aren’t able to get to races during the year to come out and actually see what we do. It’s a big race for Kalitta Motorsports for sure.”