J.R. Todd survived the third Funny Car qualifying session to become the No. 1 qualifier in his DHL Toyota Camry at the NHRA New England Nationals. His pass in the second session, a 4.022-second pass at 317.34-mph, held on against a barrage of strong performance.
The fourth qualifying session was called due to rain, helping Todd to his second Funny Car pole of the season and the third of his career. He has 12 poles in his career, which includes nine in Top Fuel racing. He will have a bye run in the first round, which begins at 11 a.m. Eastern at New England Dragway.
“We can really go out and throw down in the first round to try and get set up for round two, because that’s no easy draw between Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tim Wilkerson,” said Todd. “It gives everybody a little pep in their step back in the pit area, they deserve this. At the end of the day, we want wins, because these No. 1 qualifiers are great but we’re going out here to win.”
Bob Tasca III, Ron Capps and Robert Hight all made strong runs in the third qualifying session, but none were able to unseat the defending Funny Car world champion. Tasca enters his hometown race as the winner of the last two Funny Car racers on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. Capps, the 2016 Funny Car world champion, has also won twice in 2019, while Hight, the 2018 world champion, is a four-time winner in 2019.
Johnson is holding down the quick half of the field with a 4.069-second pass. The top 10 spots are separated by six-hundredths of a second. Only Mike Smith and Jeff Diehl failed to get down the track following three sessions, though neither made attempts in all the sessions.
The first round of eliminations is set for 11 a.m. at New England Dragway. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv and on FS1 at 1 p.m. Eastern.