J.R. Todd earned the provisional pole position in Funny Car at the NHRA New England Nationals on the back of his 4.022-second pass at 317.34-mph in the second qualifying session. He passed Ron Capps, who made a 4.039-second hit in the first qualifying session and earned three bonus points.
"That was a great run in Q2 by the DHL Toyota Camry guys after we struggled a little bit in the first session," said Todd. "The track wasn't as good [in the first session] and it came around and cooled down. I was actually a little bit surprised that our run held up, I thought [Ron] Capps was going to get by us. Hats off to Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith for putting a great number on the board."
Todd is chasing his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 12th overall. He earned his first pole of the season at the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka and went on to lose in the second round to Robert Hight. He has failed to move past the second round since his runner-up finish at the Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond.
That’s a streak Todd is eager to end. He left Richmond in second place but has dropped to sixth since, despite making solid passes on race day. He lost to John Force in Chicago, Robert Hight in Topeka, Jack Beckman in Bristol and Force again in Norwalk. The end of the four-race Summer Swing may have been a welcome one for Todd, who comes to Epping for the third time as a Funny Car racer looking for his first victory at the track. His last win came in Las Vegas in April.
A red-hot track proved tricky for many crew chiefs across both sessions, but the quick half of the field managed to make runs quicker than 4.1-seconds. Tim Wilkerson holds down the top eight with a 4.095-second pass. If that holds (and cooler weather forecast for Saturday suggests it will not), he will race Jack Beckman in the first round.
Todd’s Kalitta Motorsports teammate, Shawn Langdon, is qualified in the No. 3 position with a 4.046. That put him .002-second ahead of Bob Tasca III, who is riding a two-race win streak. Tasca is also competing at his home event at New England Dragway. Matt Hagan, who has won the last two events in New England, sits in the No. 5 position.
The third qualifying session is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv and by checking out Saturday Nitro Live on FS1 at 2 p.m. Eastern.