BROWNSBURG, Ind. – NHRA Top Fuel points leader Shawn Langdon made it a memorable double-win weekend by racing to the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the world’s most prestigious race, the 18th of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
It is the last race in the NHRA’s regular season and sets the stage for the six-race Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs which begins Sept. 13-15 at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.
A day after winning the special $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout, Langdon earned another $100,000 payday after powering his 8,000-horsepower Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a run of 3.818 seconds at 320.97 mph to beat Steve Torrence in the championship round for the second straight day.
Langdon, who earned a class-best fifth victory of the season and sixth of his career, also beat Pat Dakin, Terry McMillen and Doug Kalitta to reach the final round.
“This is the biggest race of the year by far and this team just did a phenomenal job,” said Langdon of his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. “With how special this event is and with the history behind the race, it was important for me to win this and I wanted it bad. This team has given me a great car and it’s a dream opportunity.”
Torrence and Bob Vandergriff secured the final two positions in the Countdown to the Championship. Everyone will start out chasing Langdon, who has plenty of momentum on his side as he is seeking his first Top Fuel world championship title.
“Having a car like this gives you confidence and now it’s up to me to perform,” Langdon said. “We have a chance to contend and being part of this team is a great feeling. We want to keep the momentum going and keep working hard.”
Hight broke a 35-race winless streak and claimed his 28th career victory and second at Indy by beating Jack Beckman in the final round. Hight went 4.111 at 312.64 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang to earn the victory over Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner Beckman’s Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger. The victory also gave John Force Racing its sixth consecutive Funny Car win at the tradition-rich Indy event.
“This is definitely the biggest win of my career,” Hight said. “We won four races in a row last year and then to go into that dry spell, you start wondering and doubting yourself, and that wears on you. (Crew chief) Mike Neff really changed things for me this weekend and this was the perfect time to get a win.”
A semifinal finish sent Tim Wilkerson into the Countdown to the Championship, and Del Worsham, who also fell in the semifinals, picked up a clutch second-round win against John Force to move him past Bob Tasca III into the No. 10 position. He will be one of nine drivers chasing points leader Matt Hagan when the Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin. That list includes Hight, who won the 2009 world championship.