March 19, 2024 | By NHRA

Huge Funny Car field awaits NHRA points leader J.R. Todd at Pomona

Photo by NHRA photo

POMONA, Calif/ — After winning the NHRA Gatornationals to open the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, J.R. Todd heads to this weekend’s 64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals with plenty of momentum.

But it certainly won’t get any easier for the former Funny Car world champion at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. Todd is one of 21 Funny Car entries for this weekend’s annual early-season race in Pomona, which makes it the largest Funny Car field for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals since 2014.

It’s a huge and massively talented Funny Car category, but Todd is feeling the best of everyone heading into Pomona in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota GR Supra. A season-opening win in Gainesville gives the team plenty of confidence and Todd knows his team will be ready for the challenge in Pomona. But Todd also knows there will be talented drivers at every turn this weekend at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.

“(The win) sets a good tone going into Pomona,” Todd said. “It’s not like these guys (on this team) lack confidence. When we were not running well, they still knew they had an opportunity to run well and win against these guys. I know I have to be on kill every time because when the car is on, I think it’s a tough combination. I try to hold up my end and I know they’re always working to give me a great car. As long as we can keep going to the semifinals, I think we can set up ourselves a run for the championship. But top-to-bottom, it’s tough in Funny Car and you can’t take anybody lightly. It’s a matter of survival on raceday.”

Last year, Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) took home top honors in their respective categories at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. To repeat their titles, they’ll need to get past some of the biggest names in the sport at a race that will again be broadcasted on FS1, including eliminations coverage on Sunday, March 24 at 7 p.m. ET.

Todd is also part of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday in Pomona. The specialty race provides a bonus purse and bonus championship
points in bringing competitive racing to the Saturday schedule, and Todd will take on Bob Tasca III, with Austin Prock meeting Chad Green. The winners will face off to close out qualifying, setting the stage for a monumental Sunday of eliminations.

Just making the field will be a feat, but Todd feels as though his team is on a good path, even while taking on the likes of defending world champion Hagan, Ron Capps, John Force, Cruz Pedregon and Alexis DeJoria. After struggles in recent seasons, Todd, who won in Sonoma last year, and his team have pushed forward and he’s ready for a big year in 2024 after starting so well at the Gatornationals.

“We show up to win every race,” Todd said. “Leaving Gainesville as the points leader, I don’t know when the last time I was able to say that was, but it’s a long season. You want to stay up there in the top five going into the Countdown to the Championship, which is a long time from now, but hopefully we can get a few more of these along the way and let it eat those last six races of the year.”

Fans can also witness 40-plus nitro cars in action this weekend in Pomona. Along with the 21-car field in Funny Car and a 17-car Top Fuel entry list, the Legends Nitro Funny Cars will be in action this weekend, pushing the number of nitro cars to well more than 40 at the second stop of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Top Fuel’s Ashley took home his first win of the season last year in Pomona. He went on to win six races and finished fourth in points. Ashley will be up against reigning champion and Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta, four-time champ Steve Torrence, Gainesville winner Shawn Langdon and Brittany Force. Also joining the Top Fuel ranks in 2024 is motorsports legend Tony Stewart.

Glenn earned four race wins in 2023 including his win at Pomona. He also collected five runner-up finishes as well as two No. 1 qualifier positions. Glenn will be up against the likes of six-time and reigning Pro Stock champion Erica Enders, as well as Greg Anderson, Matt Hartford, Troy Coughlin Jr. and NHRA Finals winner Aaron Stanfield.

The Top Fuel matchups in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge include Langdon taking on Antron Brown, and a father-son matchup of Billy and Steve Torrence. In Pro Stock, it will be Enders against Anderson and Glenn racing against Cristian Cuadra.

Along with racing in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, fans can also see the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Legends Nitro Funny Cars and Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown, while the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will hold a special racing exhibition. Following nitro qualifying on Friday and Saturday, the “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander driven by “NitroMike” Kunz will put on a can’t-miss show.

The Nitro Alley Stage is a huge attraction all weekend and is the main entertainment hub in the pits, hosting Nitro School, Total Seal Tech Talk, the NHRA Insider Live, meet and greets, and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food and fun.

Race fans at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying features one round at 4:30 p.m. PT on Friday, March 22, and the final two rounds on Saturday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge take place at the end of final qualifying in each category. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, March 24. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 7 p.m. ET.

To purchase tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general admission areas with the purchase of an adult ticket. For more information on NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.

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