CORDOVA, IL. - If J.R. Todd ever hopes to achieve to high expectations that many hold for him in the Top Fuel division, he must pair up against the best competition in the game. At the IHRA Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, IL., the...
CORDOVA, IL. - If J.R. Todd ever hopes to achieve to high expectations that many hold for him in the Top Fuel division, he must pair up against the best competition in the game. At the IHRA Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, IL., the driver of the United Expressline/Bruce Litton Trailer Sales Top Fueler not only did battle with two of the best in the industry, but also left many feeling that they had gotten a glimpse of a future superstar.
Pardon the 18-year old from Lawrenceburg, Ind., if he seems a little bit woozy. Things are going plenty fast for the kid that most recently attained his Top Fuel license on the third run of his career after graduating from the junior dragster ranks. He attained the license a week prior to making his IHRA Summit national event debut.
He's settled into the job and with each run improves his burgeoning talent.
"This was awesome," explained Todd, who qualified fifth in his national event debut as the driver of the second Bruce Litton machine. "I know that I have a long way to go to catch up on the level of knowledge that most of my counterparts have. I'm a patient person. Learning is a fun thing and I'm certain that this learning curve is going to be the most exciting one that I've ever encountered."
He didn't exactly get off to the best start as he made a rookie mistake during the first qualifying attempt that mistakenly shut the motor down on the starting line.
Todd admitted a bit of embarrassment, but quickly made up for his shortcoming in the first attempt on Friday as he lined up against the four-time Shirley Muldowney, who gave her endorsement of the rookie driver during a media day interview. Todd beat her off of the line, but beat him to the finish line. The kid stayed with it and lifted in the lights with a 4.955/277.43.
A team decision to conserve parts resulted in the team opting to sit out the final qualifying session. That decision dropped the team down to the fifth spot in the eight-car field.
His seeding matched him opposite of two-time champion Paul Romine in the opening round. Both cars had identical reaction times, but Romine pulled away at the final line to score the win. It was not a total loss for Todd, after all, the freshman driver recorded his quickest and fastest run with a 4.936/293.09.
For the latest in J.R. Todd news, visit his website at www.brucelitton.com.
Todd's diary of his ascension to the Top Fuel ranks is currently chronicled in Drag Racing's Internet magazine at www.competitionplus.com.