Shawn Langdon Pulling Double Duty with Eye on Back-to-Back Top Fuel U.S. Nationals Wins
Three-time U.S. Nationals winner and defending Top Fuel event champion Shawn Langdon is going to make the most of the Labor Day weekend race at Indianapolis Motorsports Park. The two-time Top Fuel winner will be racing the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster as well as his Super Comp dragster at the biggest drag race of the season. Pulling double duty will keep the 2013 Top Fuel world champion laser focused on the racing action.
“I am going to be running Super Comp and Top Fuel this race so that will keep me busy,” said Langdon, who also won Super Gas at the U.S. Nationals in 2010. “I like running the extra class because with only one nighttime pro session on Friday I can get my mind into race mode all day running my Super Comp dragster. I think it makes me a better racer because I am thinking about driving better, having good reaction times and I am focusing on all the small details. Keeping your mind active and focused is a big deal when you have a race as important as the U.S. Nationals.”
The prestige of winning the U.S. Nationals is not lost on Langdon who last year was thrilled to win again racing for drag racing legend Connie Kalitta.
“It is always exciting to get back to Indy for the U.S. Nationals,” said Langdon. “Getting the win last year was big with Connie Kalitta as my crew chief. I really wanted to get a win with him and the DHL team. It is the last race of the regular season and teams are trying to get into the Countdown or get ready for the playoffs so there is a lot of attention on this race.”
Langdon’s win last year started a Top Fuel winning streak for Kalitta Motorsports that he would like to extend. In 2019 his teammate Doug Kalitta won his first Top Fuel title at the U.S. Nationals. It has been over a decade since a driver won back-to-back U.S. Nationals, but Langdon feels like the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster could get the job done. Two races ago Langdon grabbed a semifinal finish in Topeka and this season he has two more semifinals and a runner-up finish at the season opening Gatornationals.
“I feel like this DHL Top Fuel dragster can run with anyone out here,” said Langdon. “We need to make the most of our three qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday. That will set us up for success on Sunday.”
2020 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: WINNER; Qual. No. 1; Beat Joey Haas, Cory McClenathan, Justin Ashley and Leah Pruett
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qual. No. 7; Lost to Antron Brown
Career Stats: 279 events, 276 starts, 309 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 231 events, 228 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 270 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 6; Beat Doug Foley, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown; Lost to Josh Hart
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence
Atlanta: Qual. No. 11; Beat Leah Pruett, Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown and Krista Baldwin
Houston: Qual. No. 7; Beat Josh Hart, Justin Ashley; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Epping: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Norwalk: Qual. No. 16; Lost to Steve Torrence
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Antron Brown
Pomona1: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Antron Brown
Topeka: Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Billy Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Brainerd: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Antron Brown
No. 1 Seed in Countdown and Third U.S. Nationals Title Available to J.R. Todd
For J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team the NHRA U.S. Nationals is an event they look forward to every year. Since Todd took over the driving duties of the 11,000 horsepower Toyota Funny Car the team has racked up a 13-2 winning record over the past four years at the biggest race of the season. Back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018 culminated in a Funny Car world championship two years ago and last season Todd raced to his third final round in four appearances.
“I have had some great races at the U.S. Nationals for sure,” said Todd, who is currently tied for second place in the Funny Car point standings. “We jump started our championship run by winning this race in 2018 and we dropped a close race last year. This year I feel like we are peaking at the right time, and we could have another really good race in Indy.”
Over the last three races Todd and his DHL Toyota Funny Car have raced to two final rounds and a semifinal finish to move from sixth to second place in a tight Funny Car point battle. Less than a round of race separates Todd from the top spot and the No. 1 seed going into the NHRA Countdown playoffs.
“It would be great to have the No. 1 seed in the Countdown, but I am more excited about having a quick and fast race car,” said Todd. “We have been running really well especially at Pomona and Topeka. We ran good in Brainerd too we just fell off a little in that semifinal. We stayed and tested after the Brainerd race, and I am ready to go for the U.S. Nationals.”
Todd has had one of the top Funny Cars all season going back to his season opening win at the Gatornationals. He grabbed a runner-up finish at the four-wide race in Charlotte before staying hot throughout the regular season. The 2018 Funny Car champion has only one first round loss all season which is a category best statistic and has been instrumental in the team’s success this season.
“We have made the most of qualifying at just about every race and that has helped us on race day in my opinion,” said Todd. “My crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer have a great handle on the tune-up, and we are looking forward to getting back on the track in Indy.”
2020 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 8; Beat Blake Alexander, Dale Creasy Jr., Matt Hagan; Lost to Jack Beckman
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qual. No. 11; Beat Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Career Stats: 247 events, 239 starts, 271 round wins, 19 wins, 39 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 95 events, 95 starts, 10 wins, 19 finals, 123 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: WINNER; Qual. No. 6; Beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon and Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III
Atlanta: Qual. No. 1; Beat Alexis DeJoria, bye; Lost to John Force
Charlotte1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No.4; Beat Terry Haddock, Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson; Beat Mike McIntire, Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force, Beat Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria
Houston: Qual. No. 8; Beat John Force; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Epping: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon, Lost to John Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 9; Beat Mike McIntire, Lost to Ron Capps
Denver: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Sonoma: Qual. No. 12; Beat John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Pomona1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 7; Beat Jeff Diehl, Robert Hight, Jim Campbell; Lost to Ron Capps
Topeka: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 1; Beat Bye, Ron Capps, Blake Alexander; Lost to John Force
Brainerd: Qual. No. 11; Beat Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Mac Tools Team and Doug Kalitta Racing for Another U.S. Nationals Win
]The regular season ends this weekend at the NHRA U.S. Nationals and Doug Kalitta will be focusing on picking up his second win at the “Big Go!” on the sport’s biggest stage. Two years ago, Kalitta defeated Billy Torrence in the final to collect his first U.S. Nationals title and winning for a second time would give the Mac Tools team a perfectly timed boost headed into the NHRA Countdown playoffs. The perennial championship contender is pursuing his 50th Top Fuel win and looking to extend the Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel win streak in Indy. Last season teammate Shawn Langdon won the event so Kalitta would like to make it three in a row in Top Fuel.
“We got the win a couple years ago and then Shawn won with Connie last year,” said Kalitta. “It would be great to keep that win streak going. This Mac Tools team has been working hard all season and we just need one or two things to go our way on race day.”
The veteran driver has raced to two final rounds this season picking up runner-up honors at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals and at the Houston SpringNationals. Since those early season successes, the Mac Tools team has been working to get the momentum needed to make a run once again for the championship. Kalitta needs to be one of the top ten teams to race for the championship at the conclusion of the U.S. Nationals and he is aware of the daunting task in front of him.
“You have to be in the top ten to race for the championship and we control our own destiny,” said Kalitta. “A good weekend in Indy could move us up a couple of spots in the top ten. That would be a great deal for us as we head into three playoff races in a row after this weekend.”
Kalitta’s recent success at Indianapolis Raceway Park has the Mac Tools team confident heading into the weekend. The 2019 U.S. Nationals win was preceded by a runner-up finish in 2018. He also has two more runner-up finishes from 2004 and 2008 to his credit. The breakthrough win in 2019 was huge and another win this season could be just as monumental.
“We have been to the finals at Indy a number of time and this place is really special,” said Kalitta. “You can turn your season around with a win at the U.S. Nationals. We are going to give it everything we have like we do at every race. We will have a lot of support from our sponsors across the board. It will be a bust weekend and hopefully a long race day.”
2020 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5; Beat Pat Dakin; Lost to Justin Ashley
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qual. No. 9; Lost to Clay Millican
Career Stats: 536 events, 529 starts, 721 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Arthur Allen; Lost to Justin Ashley
Las Vegas1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 3; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey, Beat Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett; Lost to Steve Torrence
Atlanta: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Antron Brown
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Billy Torrence, Kyle Wurtzel; Lost to Brittany Force, Josh Hart
Houston: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown
Denver: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Leah Pruett
Sonoma: Qual. No. 8; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Pomona1: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Clay Millican
Topeka: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Clay Millican
Brainerd: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Clay Millican