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Shawn Langdon Breaks Through For First Funny Car Win

Every Funny Car win is tough to earn but Shawn Langdon, the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car, faced one of the toughest finals in modern history. Standing between the second year Funny Car driver and his first Funny Car win were 20 combined Funny Car world championships and 227 Funny Car wins from his three competitors John Force, Robert Hight and Matt Hagan in the final quad at the Carolina Four-Wide Nationals.
 
“The guys this Global Electronic Technology team had to go through today in the second round and the finals were the best in the class,” said Langdon. “To get this win is very gratifying. I went .069 in the final and left fourth. It just shows how good these guys are and how hungry they are to win. There’s so many things going on in my life, that I just sat in the car and closed my eyes and said just give me this one time right here, I need to use it. I don’t say that too often, but this time it worked.”
 
For Langdon, the No. 5 qualifier, the win was the conclusion of an emotional start to the season as he supported his dad through serious health issues that culminated with a recent liver transplant. Langdon spent a few days before this race with his father. Emotions rose to the surface as soon as Langdon exited his Toyota Camry Funny Car today.
 
“A lot of times, you just come out here and race and you build up this wall of emotion,” said Langdon. “You become a little bit emotion-less because you know you’re going to lose more than you win and you learn how to deal with it. Then you get struck with things you really haven’t dealt with before family-wise. A lot of people have been through it, and those are the people that really helped us get through the tough times. So many encouraging messages from fans that have been through similar situations that offered us words of encouragement and advice and different things. I just tried to be there for my dad as much as I could and I told him ‘I’m going to get you one (a win).’ I was hoping that it was going to be last race, but beggars can’t be choosers. Second race in, I’ll take it. Fortunately, he’s healthy. He beat cancer and had a liver transplant. He’s doing well. I’m going to see him this week between races and I’m going to get him that trophy. It’s family and it’s important.”
 
Langdon picked up his first win at the same track where he won for the first time in Top Fuel in 2012. He joins his crew chief Del Worsham as the only driver to win at zMAX Dragway in both Funny Car and Top Fuel. Langdon becomes just the 17th driver to win in Top Fuel and Funny Car in the history of the NHRA. He joins this list right behind teammate J.R. Todd.
 
“It is pretty cool for Shawn,” said Todd, from his teammate’s winner’s circle. “I didn’t even think about the fact that I was the 16th driver to win in Funny Car and Top Fuel and now he is the 17th.  A year or so ago I really thought he would be the next driver to do that. They have had their ups and downs. It seemed like they couldn’t catch a break. I am proud they finally broke through. It is going to happen a lot more now. I am glad that he was the one to be No. 17. It is awesome to be able to share that accomplishment with him.”   
 
For Langdon the win was special and humbling because he joined an elite group of drivers.
 
“It’s humbling when my name gets put next to those guys. I grew up idolizing so many of those guys. I grew up running around and trying to get their autographs and going back home and playing with hot wheels and those were the drivers I played with. Just to have my name next to them is one of those things that I just really don’t know how to take it. To have the support of Toyota and Global Electronic Technology means a lot too.“
 
The win for Langdon came from lane four and it was the first time on race day that he hit the finish line stripe first. His winning elapsed time of 4.125 seconds at 305.08 mph was .034 seconds quicker and 30 mph faster than the runner-up. Ironically, Langdon was the fourth driver to leave the starting lane even though he has a strong .069 second reaction time.
 
Leading up to the final quad Langdon had to take on his teammate J.R. Todd in the second quad as well as Hight and Tommy Johnson Jr. Langdon was the first off the starting line with a .059 second reaction time and got to the stripe right behind Hight to advance to the final quad. It was a tough round for Langdon as he had problems early on the run and had to pedal his Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car to cruise across the finish line.
 
Quotable:
Langdon on racing the final quad: “I had no idea where I was during the race. In staging, I really didn’t know what (John) Force was going to do. A lot of time he will do a little crapshoot and roll it in deep. So I looked over at him and said man, he’s in deep. So I’m looking at the tree and I was mad when I left because I didn’t feel like I got it good. Then going down the track, you have so many emotions in your head and I’m thinking this thing really isn’t running well and it was kind of just petering down there and I’m actually glancing off to my left and I’m thinking, damn, I don’t see anybody. So obviously, I leg it. Then I go through the finish line and I see a blinking light and I’m thinking, ok, I haven’t seen that yet today and I know that I’ve second twice today and it’s been a solid light.  So I’m thinking we might have won. Then I came around the corner and they pointed me to the good side, so at that point I knew. I had about 10 seconds to think cool, I just won. It’s just an awesome feeling. This is cool.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 5 (3.944 sec., 322.96 mph) 
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q3)

Race Details:

First Quad                                                                           
Lane    Driver                          Qual          R/T       ET                   MPH  
1          Jeff Diehl                     13            .184      4.492               236.39
2          Tommy Johnson Jr       4             .087      3.978               321.35 (W)
3          Shawn Langdon          5            .099      3.982               321.19 (R/U)     
4          Terry Haddock              12          .255     11.602               69.75
 
Second Quad
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T      ET                   MPH  
1          Robert Hight                1                    .066     3.966               320.81 (W)
2          Tommy Johnson Jr.   4                      .075     4.363               213.60
3          J.R. Todd                    8                    .064     5.051               252.14
4          Shawn Langdon        5                    .059     4.311               248.93 (R/U)
 
Third Quad 
Lane    Driver                          Qual             R/T        ET                   MPH  
1          Robert Hight                1                  .054      4.159               242.89 (R/U)
2          Matt Hagan                  6                 .060      5.252               172.89
3          John Force                  3                  .038      4.517               200.59
4          Shawn Langdon         5                 .069      4.125               305.08 (W)

 

J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Camry Race to Quarterfinals

The second four-wide win in 2019 for J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry slipped away in the second quad today at the Carolina Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. The back-to-back winner of the four-wide national event in Las Vegas was unable to get his first four-wide win in Charlotte.
 
In the first quad Todd, the No. 8 qualifier, took the win light in front of Robert Hight with a stellar 3.966 second run at 320.81 mph which was one of the quickest runs of race day.
 
“To me success at the four-wide doesn’t have anything to do with four-wide,” said Todd. “People ask why are you so successful at four-wide. I think it is just the tracks that we go to even when we go to the fall races you seem to run well. All in all to get past the first round was big. That was a tough first round with Hight and (Bob) Tasca (III). We made a good run there. We gave Robert a second chance and he made us pay for it.”

The first round win gave Todd lane choice over teammate Shawn Langdon, Hight and Tommy Johnson Jr. in the second quad. The DHL team took lane three and felt confident rolling up to the starting line. As Todd left the line he went into immediate tire smoke. The reigning Mello Yello NHRA Funny Car champion tried to pedal his 10,000 horsepower Funny Car but he could not make up the deficit on Langdon and Hight.
 
“It is just tricky. We thought we had the better lane and we just missed the set up with the car in the second round. We smoked the tires early and you hate to give ‘em away like that. I am going to go up and cheer on our teammate Shawn. Hopefully they can pull it off in the final,” added Todd.
 
Quotable:
Todd on racing in Charlotte: “That is the cool part. Even going back to Vegas it seems like the four-wide is doing its job bringing in a crowd. That is what we have to do to keep our sport growing. You can tell from the fans out here this weekend they are passionate about racing period.  This is stock car country and for them to see something different especially four-wide packs the house. That is what it is all about putting on a show for these great race fans.”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.970 sec., 320.28 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:
 
First Quad                                                                          
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T        ET         MPH 
1          Bob Tasca III               9                      .110     4.687   192.03
2          Robert Hight                1                      .068     4.617   267.22 (R/U)
3          J.R. Todd                    8                      .066     3.966   320.81 (W)
4          Bob Gilbertson            16                    Did not run     

Second Quad
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T        ET         MPH  
1          Robert Hight                1                      .066     3.966     320.81 (W)
2          Tommy Johnson Jr.     4                      .075     4.363     213.60
3          J.R. Todd                    8                      .064     5.051     252.14
4          Shawn Langdon          5                      .059     4.311     248.93 (R/U)

1917 08582

Doug Kalitta Narrowly Misses Charlotte Final Quad

Doug Kalitta was looking for his first Charlotte Four-Wide National win today after two previous runner-up efforts. Last year he took runner-up honors in the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and this year he was looking to break through at the palatial zMAX Dragway. The Mello Yello Top Fuel point leader for much of the season Kalitta knows staying near the top gives his team a lot of confidence.
 
“It’s a big deal for us to stay near the top of the standings and contend for wins,” said Kalitta. “That’s what this Mac Tools Toyota team is all about. We’d love to snag another win early in the season.  We’re running with a lot of confidence right now. As the season goes on, everyone starts to tweek their equipment and start figuring things out, so if you can get an advantage early, it really helps.  We are really focused on trying to get another win.”

In the opening quad today Kalitta jumped off the line and flew down lane three beside Leah Pritchett. The two dragsters crossed the finish line almost welded together with Kalitta’s 3.779 second run just a tick behind Pritchett’s 3.775 second pass. The two drivers advanced to face Clay Millican and Mike Salinas in the second round.  
 
Temperatures fluctuated throughout the day and with the possibility of inclement weather thrown in the NHRA moved up the schedule. Less than two hours after Kalitta made his first run he was back on the starting line. Kalitta was third off the line and then lost traction to finish third in the quad.
 
Quotable: 
Kalitta on visiting TRD and running the Cup simulator in Charlotte before the Four-Wides: “It was an incredible experience. I can’t thank TRD enough for having us over. I ran four or five ARCA stock car races and I was actually hoping to go in that direction before I got hooked up with drag racing.  For me to go to TRD and run the simulator set up for Charlotte, it was very realistic. I just kept trying to improve. I’ve already thrown around a few ideas I have for running a little quicker if I get a chance to go back.  I probably wrecked four of the cars, but it’s a simulator, so you just try to run it as hard as you can.”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 4 (3.733 sec., 324.36 mph) 
Bonus points: +4 (2nd quickest of Q2 and Q3)

Race Details: 

First Quad                                                                           
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T      ET                   MPH 
1          Lex Joon                     13                    .115     6.231              111.37
2          Leah Pritchett              5                      .064     3.775             327.03 (W)
3          Doug Kalitta               4                      .073     3.779             320.13 (R/U)
4          Richie Crampton         12                    .054     4.851              153.72

Second Quad
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T      ET                  MPH  
1          Clay Millican               9                      .092     3.947              271.30 (R/U)
2          Doug Kalitta              4                      .076     5.423              149.81
3          Leah Pritchett              5                      .077     3.877             295.59 (W)
4          Mike Salinas               1                      .079     4.736             163.65

1917 08345

Crampton and DHL Dragster Continue to Battle Four-Wide

The winner of the 50th annual Gatornationals, Richie Crampton, was vying for his first four-wide win today at zMAX Dragway. The DHL Top Fuel dragster team battled through three qualifying sessions to go into race day as the No. 12 qualifier. Crampton was matched up with teammate Doug Kalitta, Leah Pritchett and Lex Joon.  
 
In the first quad Crampton was first off the starting line but his dragster quickly overpowered the track and the young Australian’s day was over as he had to watch teammate Kalitta advance to the second round. While he did not have the kind of race day his team is accustomed to Crampton knows more success is right around the corner.
 
“The four-wide has been tough for sure,” said Crampton. “We will conquer it here at some point for sure. It is just a wild card race. We know we have a good race car. We haven’t totally executed on race day but I know it is right there. My DHL Toyota boys will keep digging and so will I.”

Quotable: 
Crampton on four-wide races: “It is pretty impressive what Bruton (Smith) has come up with for these four-wide nationals. It is something pretty special that fans from all over the world come and watch these four-wide races. That is the main thing that we are putting on a good show for the fans. That is what makes this whole deal go round. Whilst I am happy to get out of here I really do appreciate what we do down here in Charlotte at this at this awesome facility.” 
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 12 (4.350 sec., 187.05 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details: 

First Quad                                                                           
Lane    Driver                          Qual                R/T      ET                MPH 
1          Lex Joon                     13                    .115     6.231          111.37
2          Leah Pritchett              5                      .064     3.775          327.03 (W)
3          Doug Kalitta                4                      .073     3.779           320.13 (R/U)  
4          Richie Crampton       12                    .054     4.851           153.72

Kalitta Merchandise

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Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 2179
2 John Force 2160
3 Robert Hight 2155
4 Ron Capps 2136
5 Tommy Johnson Jr 2105
6 Matt Hagan 2092
7 J.R. Todd 2089
8 Bob Tasca III 2072
9 Tim Wilkerson 2057
10 Shawn Langdon 2043

Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Top Fuel

1 Doug Kalitta 2180
2 Brittany Force 2147
3 Steve Torrence 2133
4 Antron Brown 2127
5 Richie Crampton 2126
6 Mike Salinas 2104
7 Austin Prock 2094
8 Leah Pritchett 2093
9 Clay Millican 2092
10 Billy Torrence 2032
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