Shawn Langdon and CMR Team Focused on Victory at Sonoma Nationals
Shawn Langdon has been on a hot streak the last four races. He has collected a semifinal finish and two runner-up finishes over that span including a final round appearance in the CMR Construction and Roofing dragster at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. Langdon will return to the blue and white CMR Toyota dragster this weekend at the Sonoma Nationals looking for his second Top Fuel win at the northern California track.
“We have been running really well the last few races and honestly, I know we should have at least one race win to our credit,” said Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion. “Last weekend in Denver we had a leak on the starting line and didn’t get a chance to close that race out with a win. We aren’t going to let that happen again.”
The CMR Construction and Roofing Top Fuel team will enter the second race of the Western Swing sitting in eighth place in the points just one round out of sixth. They are less than three rounds out of fifth place, which when the points reset for the Countdown would put Langdon just 50 points out of the Top Fuel lead with six races in the playoffs.
“We know we have a chance to make some moves starting this weekend at the Sonoma Nationals,” said Langdon. “We went to the final round in Bristol with this CMR dragster and I would love to park it in the winner’s circle for Steve Soule, the CEO of CMR. He has been a great supporter for our team.”
During Langdon’s 2013 season the Sonoma Nationals was one of the many races he won on the way to his championship. The following season he raced to a runner-up finish at the Sonoma Nationals. This seasons two runner-up finishes have come at the perfect time as the season is taking its turn to the home stretch.
“You want to have some momentum going into the U.S. Nationals and the Countdown for sure,” said Langdon. “We have been working to get a consistent tune-up for not just these races bot for the Countdown. I have a lot of confidence in this CMR team and I am looking forward to getting back on the track in a few days.”
Langdon will get his first crack at grabbing his 20th career No. 1 qualifier when qualifying gets underway Friday night at Sonoma Raceway. The teams will get two more qualifying runs on Saturday before the quickest sixteen Top Fuel dragsters will battle it out for the win on Sunday.
2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Antron Brown
Last Event Recap 2022 Mile-High Nationals: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 12; Beat Greg Carrillo, Mike Salinas, Josh Hart; Lost to Leah Pruett
Career Stats: 298 events, 294 starts, 321 round wins, 17 wins, 37 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 250 events, 246 starts, 15 wins, 34 finals, 282 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Lost to Josh Hart
Arizona Nationals: Qual 7; Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Gatornationals: Qual 21; DNQ
Las Vegas1: Qual 11; Beat Doug Kalitta and Rob Passey; Lost to Steve Torrence and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual 10; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual 14; Lost to Clay Millican, Josh Hart
Richmond: Qual 12; Beat Doug Foley; Lost to Brittany Force
Epping: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Doug Kalitta; Lost to Justin Ashley
Bristol: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Spencer Massey, Mike Salinas, Antron Brown; Lost to Justin Ashley
Norwalk: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Tripp Tatum
Denver: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 12; Beat Greg Carrillo, Mike Salinas, Josh Hart; Lost to Leah Pruett
Doug Kalitta Chasing Record-Setting Sixth Sonoma Nationals Win
As the winningest driver in the history of Top Fuel at Sonoma Raceway Doug Kalitta would like to add another title to his record-setting career this weekend at the Sonoma Nationals. The five-time Top Fuel winner last stood in the winner’s circle at the track located in northern California’s wine country in 2005 and the career 49-time Top Fuel winner is focused on a return to victory. This season Kalitta has kept the Mac Tools Toyota dragster in the top ten with strong qualifying efforts and flashes of dominance on race day.
“We have a great team over here on this Mac Tools Toyota dragster,” said Kalitta, who has five quarterfinal finishes this season. “(Crew chiefs) Alan Johnson and Brian Husen have been a great addition and we just need some things to go our way on race day. I am ready for that next win and I would love to get another one at the Sonoma Nationals. It is an amazing facility and we have had a lot of success there.”
Kalitta collected the first Top Fuel win of his career in Sonoma in 1998 and the perennial championship contender went on an immediate winning streak. He won the two more races in a row collecting titles in 1999 and 2000. He then went back-to-back in 2004 and 2005 with a runner-up finish mixed in during the 2002 national event.
“We got really hot when I started racing with wins at Sonoma,” said Kalitta. “I don’t know what it was about the place, but we really had a good run. I know we can capture some of that success this weekend.”
In addition to the five wins Kalitta and his Mac Tools team also started from the No. 1 spot in 1998, 2004 and most recently in 2012. This season Kalitta’s qualifying performances have also been strong. He ran to his career 51st No. 1 qualifier at the Arizona Nationals early this year and he has only started from the bottom half of the field one time this season.
“We have had a strong race car in qualifying, but we just haven’t gotten any breaks on race day,” said Kalitta. “It seems like you need one thing to go your way if you want to get that win. We are going to make our own luck and give it our best this weekend. We’ll have a lot of support from our sponsors like Mac Tools and Revchem Composites. I know the fans will be behind us here.”
The second race of the Western Swing is an opportunity for Kalitta to start building momentum as the regular season draws to a close. There are five more regular season races before the six-race Countdown starts. The Mac Tools team is not counting points, but they know every spot they move up in the top ten brings them closer to a championship when the points reset.
“We definitely feel like we can move up in the points over these last few regular season races. We are going to tracks where I have a lot of confidence,” added Kalitta. “I am going to do my job behind the wheel of the Mac Tools dragster and I know the Mac Tools team will do theirs. That combination when we are at the top of our game is tough to beat.”
2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 8, Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Last Event Recap 2022 Mile-High Nationals: Qual. No. 8, Lost to Josh Hart
Career Stats: 555 events, 548 starts, 729 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Arizona Nationals: Qual. 1; Lost to Rob Passey
Gatornationals: Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Las Vegas1: Qual 6; Lost to Leah Pruett and Shawn Langdon
Houston: Qual 3; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual 4; Beat Alex Laughlin, Doug Foley; Lost to Mike Salinas, Cameron Ferre
Richmond: Qual 6; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Austin Prock
Epping: Qual 4; Beat Cameron Ferre; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Bristol: Qual 12; Lost to Brittany Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 6, Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Denver: Qual. No. 8, Lost to Josh Hart
J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Funny Car Racing for Another Sonoma Win and History
Sonoma Raceway is one of the tracks that 2018 Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd loves to get behind the wheel of his DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car and blast to the finish line. In his first season driving these 11,000-horsepower race cars he drove to the winner’s circle in 2017. It was a unique back-to-back win for the driver who started his career racing motor bikes before switching to junior dragsters. The previous season Todd captured the Top Fuel title at the Sonoma Nationals making this one of the hanfful of tracks where Todd has dominated both the nitro categories.
“Getting that first Funny Car win at Sonoma was pretty special,” said Todd. “I was just getting comfortable in the Funny Car and we got that win. It gave me a lot of confidence. We went on to win the U.S. Nationals that year and then the championship the next year. That success all really started for me at Sonoma.”
The Top Fuel title in 2016 was Todd’s second Top Fuel victory at the Sonoma Nationals making him one of only seven Top Fuel races with multiple wins in northern California wine country. His teammate Doug Kalitta is the winningest Top Fuel driver with five wins. Another Funny Car win would make Todd the only multiple time double category nitro winner in the history of the track.
“This track is amazing and when the conditions are right you can make some monster runs here,” said Todd, a ten-time Funny Car national event winner. “This Friday night could be one of those nights where you are going to want to be in the grandstands. There are so many good Funny Cars racing this season anyone one of them could run low or win the race. I know this DHL Toyota Funny Car team is ready to get a win this season.”
Over the past four races Todd and the DHL team have raced to two semifinal finishes and a quarterfinal finish last weekend at the Mile-High Nationals to start the Western Swing. They are sitting in seventh place in the point standings just two rounds out of sixth and less than three rounds out of fifth.
“We would love to move up a couple spots in the points and hopefully go into the playoffs in fifth place or higher,” said Todd. “Those last six races anyone has a shot at the championship. The best time for us to start making that move is this weekend and I feel good about our chances.”
2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 12, Beat John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Last Event Recap 2022 Mile-High Nationals: Qual 6; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to John Force
Career Stats: 265 events, 257 starts, 290 round wins, 19 wins, 40 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 113 events, 113 starts, 10 wins, 20 finals, 142 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Beat Bobby Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Arizona Nationals: Qual 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Gatornationals: Qual 11; Lost to Blake Alexander
Las Vegas1: Qual 9; Beat Tim Wilkerson and Jason Rupert; Lost to Ron Capps and Matt Hagan
Houston: Qual 13; Beat Bob Tasca III, Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Charlotte1: Qual 6; Beat Dale Creasy Jr, Chad Green; Lost to Ron Capps, Mike McIntire
Richmond: Qual 5; Lost to John Force
Epping: Qual 10; Beat Blake Alexander, Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Bristol: Qual 11; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Norwalk: Qual 7; Beat Blake Alexander, John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Denver: Qual 6; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to John Force