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J.R. Todd Wins Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Kalitta Motorsports photo

J.R. Todd and his DHL GR Supra Funny Car team raced to the winner’s circle in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge featuring a rematch of the semifinals and finals from the four-wide race in Charlotte two weeks ago. The Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals is set for tomorrow in Joliet, Ill.

When Todd advanced to the final round of the Betway NHRA 4-Wide Nationals near Charlotte, the four teams in the final round advanced to today’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. Todd raced John Force while Matt Hagan raced Dan Wilkerson in what would have been the semifinals of a two-wide event.

Todd dispatched Force in Saturday’s first qualifying session and faced Hagan in the final session. The 2018 Funny Car champion won with a 4.040-second run at 316.52 mph to beat Hagan’s 4.10-second effort on a hot, tricky race track. It was Todd’s third win in the NHRA special event and his second of the season. He won this event earlier this season in Phoenix and raced to a semifinal finish the next day. Last summer, he won the event in Sonoma and went on to win the race the next day. 

“It’s extremely rewarding knowing that’s what race conditions will be tomorrow,” Todd said. “It’s probably going to be even warmer and trickier on race day. I noticed a lot of cars weren’t going down the race track in Q3 (third qualifying session), and when we made it against Force, it gave me some confidence and made me feel good about our chances going into race day.

“After last night, I was bummed about how we qualified because that’s usually the pivotal run of qualifying. When you miss it, it kind of sets you back. At the end of the day, I’m not sure how important qualifying is when conditions are like they are this weekend. My guys work hard whether we run good or bad. They stay positive and know we’re a team capable of winning any time we show up.”

Todd is the No. 12 qualifier for Sunday’s race. He will meet Alexis DeJoria in the first round Sunday morning. In Top Fuel, 2023 Top Fuel champion Doug Kalitta qualified No. 3 and will race No. 14 Justin Ashley in Sunday’s first round. Shawn Langdon, a two-time race winner already this season, qualified No. 4 and will race Cody Krohn in the opening round.

This story was originally published on May 18, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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