Just days after Global Rallycross driver Alex Keyes experienced nitro for the first time, J.R. Todd completed the crossover as he stepped behind the wheel of Keyes' WIX Filters machine for his first introduction to rallycross racing. .
At a closed test session at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, Keyes drove Todd around the prepped track before turning over the wheel completely to Todd. The NHRA veteran made two three-lap segments and was completely blown away.
"It is pretty cool to be driving around here [in the pit area] where we typically park our 18-wheelers when we are here racing," said Todd, driver of the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports. "It gives you a new respect for what these guys do. You are shifting gears going all the way around the course, it is a lot of fun. It is easy to go as fast as you can on the straightaways, but then you got get on the brakes to get on the corners that are always coming up. Huge thanks to Alex and the WIX Filters team for having me out."
Blown away could also discribe Keyes' experience as he stood behind a 10,000-horsepower nitro-burning machine just days ago in Las Vegas when Todd qualified for last weekend’s Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals.
"It was so sweet; I have seen NHRA on TV and I know they are fast, but it just does not do them justice," said Keyes, driver of the WIX Filters GRC Lite for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "First off, I did not know that they ran on nitro, so I was crying a little bit. Then got to the starting line and wasn't anticipating it and I jumped. After that, I got to watch about 10 runs. When you know it’s coming it is sweet. You feel it through your chest and it is definitely a cool experience."
Both are making plans to attend the other's actual events this season. Currently, Todd sits 10th in the NHRA point standings after four of 24 events, while Keyes will make his 2017 debut at the GRC season opener in Memphis at the end of the month.
The event was also used as an official kick off for the upcoming debut of the Red Bull Global Rallycross at Lucas Oil Raceway on July 8-9. That event, the first of its kind at the historic facility, was also announced on Tuesday.