Todd gets first win of 2019 at Denso Four-Wide

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

J.R. Todd won his first Funny Car Wally of the 2019 season. The Lawrenceburg, Indiana native went 3.970 at 319.07 mph for the win at the 20th annual Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Todd claimed his first Wally since winning the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona, California in Nov. 2018. Todd joins Robert Hight and Matt Hagan with Funny Car wins in 2019.

Funny Car pilot J.R. Todd racing on Sunday at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
J.R. Todd racing on Sunday at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (Photo by the NHRA)

“Ever since I’ve come onboard at Kalitta Motorsports we’ve done well here; all four cars have a real good handle on this place, especially Todd Smith and Jon [Oberhofer],” Todd said. “We struggled early this year shaking the tires on cold tracks and I knew it wouldn’t be cold everywhere we went, and, sure enough, it was hot and nasty today which is a good equalizer for us. That .97 in the final was pretty stout.

“This is the fifth anniversary of me getting the call from [team owner Connie Kalitta]. I was at home eating chicken wings and drinking beer and watching March Madness with my parents when called me and asked me to get on a plane and come here and drive his car on Saturday and that’s where it all started. I can’t thank him enough.”

Only two Funny Cars had full passes. Make A Wish Foundation Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. went 3.975 at 313.29 mph.

Beckman and Wilkerson had problems. The Norco, California native was first off of the line, then lost traction. He then shut it off and went 4.370 at 213.16 mph.

The Springfield, Illinois native was third off of the starting line, before hazing the tires. Wilkerson went 4.401 at 205.35 mph.

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