This weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas will mark the return of J.R. Todd to a Top Fuel dragster as Todd will pilot a second dragster out of the Bob Vandergriff Jr. Racing stable. Vandergriff has selected Kurt Elliot as the crew chief for Todd’s Total Equipment sponsored dragster. Total Equipment is a subsidiary of Vandergrift’s primary sponsor, C&J Energy Services. Vandergriff Jr. reports that Todd is onboard for a select number of events on the 2012 NHRA Full throttle Drag racing Series schedule. Todd and Elliot tested in Charlotte, North Carolina after the running of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals two weeks ago, where Todd was re-certified for Top Fuel competition.
Todd competed in the NHRA Top Fuel Class from 2006 through 2009 during which he made eight final rounds and took home the Wally six times. In 2006 Todd won the NHRA Rookie of the Year and with a victory in Denver and became the first African-American to win an NHRA Top Fuel Race. In 2007 Todd experienced an up and down year with multiple crew changes, but still finished in the top four in the NHRA points chase. In 2008 Todd bested, the at-that-time unstoppable Tony Schumacher to claim a victory in Dallas, but 2009 brought him limited success.
Given his past magic in the great state of Texas, it’s no surprise Bob Vandergriff Jr. picked Houston to introduce his new driver. Last year, after 17 years of trying, Vandergriff Jr. earned his first Top Fuel Wally in an emotional win at Dallas. Vandergriff’s single car operation has been a steady force in Top Fuel and the addition of a second team just may provide the edge to compete with the super teams in the sports’ premier category.