While Courtney Force has been amassing points in the NHRA Funny Car division like she belongs on an episode of Hoarders, the battle for second is intense.
Only 33 points separate second from sixth in the standings.
Trailing Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan by 21, who are tied for second in points halfway through the season, JR Todd is having a career year in fifth.
In his second season driving Funny Cars for Kalitta Motorsports, Todd has quickly become comfortable in his new role.
“The DHL team went through quite a few changes last season that included me as driver, a new crew chief, and a change with the tune up,” Todd said. “It definitely took me a period of time before I was comfortable behind the wheel and it took a while to get a handle on the tune up. This year, I am way more comfortable in the car and the consistency of the tune up has come around as well.”
The results show as much. Last year, Todd scored 18 round wins during the entire season. Halfway through 2018, he has 17 – including a round two win last week at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio over Ron Capps. In the semifinal, he fell behind eventual winner Hagan with an ET that would have beaten Force in the final round.
In fact, Todd has advanced to the semifinals in his last three races.
“I am really happy with the way our team is performing,” Todd said. “Of course we want to win every race but it’s nice to be going to the later rounds and racking up points.”
With a 250-point lead over the field, no one will catch Force before the Countdown for the Championship begins, but Todd knows that strength and consistency gives him a shot at entering the finals with one of the best opportunities to challenge.
“At this point I feel like our DHL/WIX Filters Camry is good enough to finish the regular season in second. We want to be as close to the top as possible so we can give ourselves a better shot at winning that Mello Yello championship once the countdown starts. We are surrounded by some really good cars, so we have our work cut out for us and I’m excited about it.”