Photo: Kalitta Motorsports

NHRA: J.R. Todd breaks through in Funny Car in Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. (AP) J.R. Todd became the first black winner in NHRA Funny Car history Sunday, beating Tim Wilkerson in the Sonoma Nationals.

The 35-year-old Todd, from Lawrenceburg, Indiana also joined Don Prudhomme as the only NHRA drivers to win at Sonoma Raceway in both nitro categories. Todd won nine times in Top Fuel.

Todd beat Wilkerson with a 4.049-second pass at 323.27 mph in a Toyota Camry.

“Our car showed us a lot of promise in Denver which gave us hope coming into here,” Todd said. “We’ve been struggling so bad this season. I’m just happy to win a Funny Car. I was able to win here last year in Top Fuel and to be able to come back and do it again in Funny Car is pretty special.”

Wilkerson’s Ford Shelby Mustang went up in smoke in a 6.823 at 100.26.

Steve Torrence raced to his sixth Top Fuel victory of the season, Tanner Gray topped the Pro Stock field for his third win in his rookie season, and LE Tonglet took his fifth Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the year.

Torrence beat Antron Brown in the final with a 3.784 at 329.42. Gray had a 6.572 at 210.05 in a Chevrolet Camaro to edge points leader Bo Butner. Tonglet beat Matt Smith with a 6.783 at 197.02 on a Suzuki. Tonglet won the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle on Saturday.

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: