NORWALK, OHIO - If the first run sets the tone for a Top Fuel driver's career, then the class had better watch out because there's a kid ready to do battle among the men. However, the scary part for the competition is - he drives like a man.
NORWALK, OHIO - If the first run sets the tone for a Top Fuel driver's career, then the class had better watch out because there's a kid ready to do battle among the men. However, the scary part for the competition is - he drives like a man. Compared to the older generation of drag racing, J.R. Todd is a kid. The 18-year old rookie driver from Lawrenceburg, Ind., piloted the United Expressline, Inc.-sponsored dragster in his initial licensing runs. He becomes the second graduate of the junior dragster ranks to step into a professional category in IHRA competition since Richie "The Kid" Stevens graduated to Pro Stock.
His first attempt at driving a nitro dragster netted a .947 sixty-footer and a 2.432 at the 330-foot mark. He coasted the rest of the way. The impressive part of his run was not in his times from an obvious detuned motor, but in that he was so intent of maintaining detail to the point that he carded a .488 reaction time.
"I figured it would feel more violent coming off of the line than it did," confided Todd, who is a graduate of the Alcohol Dragster course at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. "I didn't want to get out of it when I did. I felt like I could have ran farther than I did. I was instructed to get out of it at the 330-foot mark, and I did. It was tempting, but I know if I ever want to be a future champion I have to listen to everything my instructors say to do. I never second-guess them."
The second attempt was postponed until Saturday in the heat to give the Novice fuel racer a comparative situation to normal racing conditions. Todd ran the car to the 1,000-foot mark and lifted, coasting to a 5.649/181.06.
On his third attempt, Todd was given instructions to run to the 1200-foot mark. He launched hard with a .485 reaction and .916 sixty-footer. He lifted when instructed, and despite smoking the tires, still carded a 5.312/231.60.
Both Bruce Litton and Paul Romine, accomplished IHRA Top Fuel racers, have agreed that they will sign off on his licensing. This will enable Todd to make his scheduled debut at the IHRA Amalie Oils Summer Nationals this weekend.
For the latest in J.R. Todd news, visit his website at www.brucelitton.com.