After Charlotte, the team has raced to the finals in two of the three following events and won in Reading. His six victories leads the Top Fuel category and winning rounds in the Countdown to the Championship is paramount to taking home the season title.
“We go to every race knowing we want to win and that we are capable of winning,” Langdon continued. “We have been fortunate to have a good year this season, but in the Countdown, it’s crunch time; you have to perform, and you can’t go out in the first round. You have to continue to go rounds and get into those key situations like in Reading, when we ran Doug Kalitta in the semis and Antron Brown in the finals. With only six races in the Countdown, there’s no room for error.”
Brian Husen is the crew chief for Langdon and has been integral in the success the team has enjoyed. Also guiding the team is team manager Alan Johnson who has 14 NHRA national championships, including 10 Top Fuel titles on his impressive resume.
“Alan Johnson is Alan Johnson,” he continued. “When the Countdown starts, you can just see his attitude change. You can see the hunger in his eyes – he wants to win, and that’s exactly what you want. Every time we go up there to make a run, and I’m sitting in the water box, you can see his determination, and it gives you that much more confidence because you know he’s out there to get every single bit of E.T. he can out of the car.”
For Langdon to secure his first Top Fuel world championship he will have to contend with fierce competitors Doug Kalitta and Spencer Massey, who trail by 83 and 85 points respectively. Should Langdon increase his series lead to 151 points over second place at this event he will clinch the championship title. Several others are still in title contention, but will need a strong showing in Las Vegas to boost their title hopes, including fourth place points-sitter Morgan Lucas, defending world champ Antron Brown and four-time NHRA Toyota Nationals event winner Tony Schumacher.
The Funny Car championship is tightening up with John Force and Matt Hagan as two of the top contenders in the category. Force, the 15-time champion, has a 65-point lead over 2011 world champion Hagan and the two racers are slugging it out like a heavy weight title fight often featured on The Strip. Jack Beckman, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon can be wild cards during the weekend as they look to add to their win totals.
Pro Stock features a classic group of former world champions battling for the top prize, with everyone chasing JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger veteran Jeg Coughlin. Mike Edwards is in second place and is this season’s winningest driver with six victories total, while Jason Line, who drives the Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, is currently in third. Defending world champ Johnson is 73 points back in his Team Mopar Avenger.
The battle in Pro Stock Motorcycle will showcase the brewing rivalry between 2007 world champion and points leader Matt Smith and Hector Arana Jr. Smith has a 125 point lead over Arana Jr. and could clinch the championship title if he can add 26 more points to his lead at this event. Arana Jr., Michael Ray, Hector Arana Sr., and Krawiec all will be racing hard to keep the championship battle in the two-wheel category going for one more event.