BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Top Fuel driver J.R. Todd and Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan raced to the quickest passes Wednesday during the opening day of testing for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
NHRA teams utilized the first day of the two-day open test to prepare for the world’s most prestigious drag race, which will be held Aug. 27-Sept. 1 at the famed NHRA-owned multi-purpose motorsports facility that sits just west of downtown Indianapolis. The event, which will also feature the lucrative Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car and many special activities with the sport’s legendary drivers to celebrate the milestone 60th anniversary, is the final race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season.
Todd blasted down the historic Indy dragstrip with a category-best performance of 3.768 seconds at 314.17 mph in his Optima Batteries dragster. Todd, who comes to Indy hoping to wrap up the 10th and final position for the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, said he and his Kalitta Motorsports team were continuing to work out the bugs with his brand new race car that they introduced last weekend at Brainerd.
“We brought out a new car in Brainerd and wanted to get data on it and struggled in qualifying and didn’t make any full runs,” Todd said. “The idea was to come here and see if the car is similar to Doug’s and that was the plan when we built the thing is to make it pretty identical to his car. The plan is to get some data on it and go from there and get ready for next week. Overall the plan is to get it close to the Mac Tools car so we can share info and help each other out. With them at the top and us in the No. 10 spot, the overall goal is for these cars to finish one and two at the end of the year and that is what we are striving for.”
Todd, who joined the Kalitta Motorsports team at the Las Vegas race in April, leads 11th place driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. by 130 points for the 10th and final playoff spot in Top Fuel.
“It would have been nice to wrap up the Countdown last week in Brainerd, but it is going to take a miracle for us to get bumped out of the tenth spot,” Todd said. “I’m not saying it isn’t going to happen, but our main focus is the race. Take care of the race and everything else will take care of itself. It is the biggest race of the year and we don’t want to worry about the Countdown. We can just focus on getting this thing qualified hopefully Friday night solidly and go to work from there.”
Rookie driver Richie Crampton posted the day’s second best time with a 3.773 at 320.97 in the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster and defending winner Shawn Langdon, who also won the Traxxas Shootout in Top Fuel one year ago, powered to a testing best of 3.774 at 320.97 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster. Antron Brown, 2011 U.S. Nationals winner, was fourth in his Matco Tools dragster with a 3.782 at 314.61.