Former multi-time NHRA Super Comp World Champion, Shawn Langdon has been living the dream of many a racer for the last several years. First with his championships and then his lightning move up through the sportsman ranks to Top Alcohol and now professional ranks of Top Fuel as the driver of the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper entry.
NHRA Super Comp World Champion Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon and the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper Race Car
Much like several other drivers, who have obtained the level of success Langdon has, even with being a part of a NHRA Top Fuel team, he stills loves sportsman competition and has been pulling double duty at several NHRA events during the 2010 season.
"I just really started running back in the sportsman classes too during the last couple of races just to get a little more seat time," Langdon said. "I just enjoy racing sportsman cars, too, since that's what I grew up racing."
Langdon took a little time off from his roots to first make sure that things were in place with himself as well as the Top Fuel team he drives for.
"I kinda wanted to take the first year and just really concentrate with the fuel car," he explained. "We've got a good rhythm down now with the fuel car, so that allowed me time to run the Super Classes at the National events."
While there are numerous sportsman drivers who compete in multiple classes, some drivers may find it distracting to do it the way Langdon is, one sportsman and one professional, which are two completely different beasts.
"I was very-very busy," laughs Langdon. "Actually Saturday night, I had a dinner meeting to attend as part of my fuel driver's duties, but I was also running second and third rounds in Super Gas. So I was juggling all of that, running back and forth. Then Sunday morning, Super Gas eliminations continued as I was also trying to get the fuel car warmed up for first round."
"There were some times where it got very hectic, but that's what I enjoy," he added.
Things can get quite fast and furious, even when you are only competing in one sportsman entry let along Langdon's special situation, once you start making it to the later rounds. Langdon notes that while he was doing most of the between round preparation for the car he did have some help when he needed it.
"I was doing the majority of the stuff with the Super Gas car," he said. "The Lamb family was there to help, if I needed anything. For the most part, they kinda let me do my own deal."
Every racer who makes it to a final, no matter what the rank of class, has a lucky round or two along the way. Although Langdon was certainly doing his job in the 1968 Camaro Roadster he was racing in Super Gas, including some of his notable rounds with Steve Williams and Ryan Mangus, he did had a few lucky rounds come his way by virtue of his opponents' redlights, including his final round competitor Val Torres's .002 red in the final, giving Langdon his sixth NHRA National Event victory.
"You can be the best out there, but you have got to have that luck or it's just not going to happen," he said. "After a couple rounds started to go that way I told my buddy ‘this race is mine'. I knew I couldn't have that many lucky breaks and not finish it off."
Langdon points out that being as busy as he was during the weekend may have played in his favor.
"I didn't really have a chance to look at the ladder to see who I was running or who may be coming up," he explained. "The guys I ran throughout the day were some of the best Super Gas racers on the west coast. That can be very intimidating if you are looking at all that, I was just so busy that many times I didn't even know who I was running until I got up into the lanes to get paired. I really think that all was to my benefit."
"It was something else," he said of his rounds in Super Gas at the Sonoma National. "The last five of my seven rounds were all decided by three-thousandths of a second or less."
"The car did awesome and I was just in the right place at the right time," smiled Langdon.
Langdon is also looking forward to his new TNT dragster to be completed shortly and to debuting it during the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend. The car will be capable of competing in both Super Comp and Top Dragster and just like the Super Gas Camaro he wheeled to the winner's circle at Sonoma, well equipped with both K&N High-Flow Air Filter and K&N Oil Filter.
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