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SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: J.R. TODD

 

Sure, J.R. Todd missses driving a Top Fuel car in the NHRA's premier series.

After all, Todd was a full-fledged star, posting six national-event from victories from 2006-2008.

But Todd is also not about to complain about his current job, competing in the American Drag Racing League's Pro  Extreme class for His Highness Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al-Thani's Al-Anabi Racing.

"It's fun,'' said the 29-year-old Todd, who will compete Friday and Saturday in the Kansas National Guard Independence Drags V at Heartland Park Topeka. "It's hard to complain about having a driving job drag racing.

"I've got to thank Sheikh Khalid and all the Al-Anabi guys for giving me the opportunity and I'm just making the best of it.''

Todd, who last competed in the NHRA in 2009, is driving for Al-Anabi this season after hanging out at ADRL events last season.

"I spent all of last year going to all of these ADRL events with (Al-Thani) and finding out what the whole experience was all about,'' Todd said. "I'd never really been around Pro Mods up close. I'd always been a fan of them but really not that involved with them.

"I met some guys (last season) and was just trying to learn what I could and now here I am driving one of them.''

Todd said he's thankful to have the opportunity to get back behind the wheel.

"It wasn't fun, I can tell you that,'' Todd said of his layoff after he lost his NHRA ride. "It makes what little bit of money you have saved up go pretty quick. You've still got to pay those bills and you don't have an income. It's tough to sit back and watch all your buddies out there compete, whether it's in NHRA or ADRL or just any kind of drag racing.

"I don't make a very good spectator when I'm at the track if I'm not competing. That's for sure.''

Todd doesn't know exactly what the future holds for him, but is trying to be patient.

"(Al-Thani) and I have discussed possible future plans and what have you,'' Todd said. "You never know what could happen but I'm not going to get on my knees and beg him to start another Top Fuel car or anything like that.

"It doesn't do any good to sit and pout and complain because then you'll end up with no job because nobody wants to hear about it. I enjoy both the ADRL and the NHRA and I just enjoy any kind of racing in general. I'm just glad to be driving what I am right now. It's not a bad gig. It's something new to me and I'm still learning but it's a lot of fun.''

Having said that, though, Todd has every intention of driving a Top Fueler again some day.

"Once you've got the bug planted in you to drive a Top Fuel car it never goes away by any means.'' said Todd, who was a finalist at Heartland Park in NHRA. "Before it's all said and done I definitely want to get back into a Top Fuel car.''

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