Photo Courtesy: NHRA

YPSILANTI, Mich. (April 9, 2024) – As the old song said, “two outa three aint bad.” Shawn Langdon, Crew Chief Brian Husen and the Kalitta Air Careers team are on a tear entering the season’s fourth race with two wins in the first three. After a flawless season debut in Florida, Langdon’s Kalitta Air Careers Toyota team will roll into Las Vegas as the points leader hoping to keep rolling. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes April 12-14, 2024 at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After last week’s win in the Arizona desert, Langdon and first-time crew chief Brian Husen enter the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas on quite a tear. The team won 10 of the available 12 rounds of racing to start the season, and although the competition is incredibly intense in Top Fuel, the current points-leading team shows no signs of slowing down. After struggling a bit over the last few years, running consistently well is a welcome change.

“It feels great; I’m just really proud of everybody with all the hard work that went on in the off season,” Langdon said. “It was hard to struggle for the last couple of years. You have to bite your tongue a little bit, keep your head down and keep working, and eventually, the tide is gonna roll the other way. You don’t know how long that’s gonna take, but it’s paying dividends right now. Internally, we feel very confident with the team we put together, and we feel very confident in ourselves. Now we have to keep working hard and hope the results show it.”

And while only three of the 20 races that comprise the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing season are complete, Langdon has now led the point standings following three-consecutive races – something he last did in 2015. Some are already wondering if this year could end up comparing to his career-best season in 2013, but these are very different times in Top Fuel. The Kalitta Air Careers team is off to a hot start, but it’s just that – a start – and the competition is intense.

 “Getting two wins in the first three races is a little bit of a head start on 2013,” Langdon said. “It would be awesome to have another season like that, but it’s just so hard. There are so many things that happen, so many good teams and so many good drivers that having dominant seasons is just so hard to do in this day and age. To be in the position we’re in, we’re very excited, and I’m very proud of my team. We have a good head start on it, and hopefully, we can maintain it.”

This weekend, Langdon will try, once again, to win his first Las Vegas Top Fuel race. He’s won plenty of races on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but none in Top Fuel. If he’s able to get that elusive Top Fuel win this weekend, he’ll do it in the four-wide format of the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, but 2013 champion doesn’t change his routine for this format.

 “If you’re running against competitors that typically race each week, for the most part, everybody knows what they’re doing and what lane they’re in,” Langdon said. “You’re looking at four pre-stage bulbs instead of two and then four stage bulbs instead of two. It’s the same process – you absolutely do the same thing except you look for four bulbs instead of two.”

When Langdon advanced to the quarterfinals in Phoenix last weekend, he earned a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge this week. During Saturday’s qualifying sessions, the drivers who reached the quarterfinals in Phoenix will re-run the quarterfinals in the 4-Wide format with the four winners advancing to the “finals” earning additional purse and championship bonus points.

Race Information:

NHRA 4-Wide Nationals

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Las Vegas

TV Schedule (All times eastern):   

  • Qualifying 1: 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday, April 12 on FS1
  • Qualifying 2: 11 a.m.-Noon Sunday, April 14 on FS1
  • Finals: 7-10 p.m. Sunday, April 12 on FS1

2023 NHRA 4-Wide Nationals Recap: Qualified No. 7; defeated Clay Millican and Krista Baldwin before losing to Josh Hart and Steve Torrence in the semifinals.  

Shawn Langdon Career Stats: 332 events, 19 wins, 21 runner-up, 353 round wins, 20 No. 1 qualifiers.

2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Results To Date:

  • Gainesville: Qualified No. 1; defeated Cody Krohn, Justin Ashley, Antron Brown and Billy Torrence.
  • Pomona: Qualified No. 7; defeated Krista Baldwin; lost to Tony Schumacher.
  • Phoenix: Qualified No. 5; defeated Josh Hart, Antron Brown, Steve Torrence and Justin Ashley.