Langdon Rules All-Kalitta Final At Gateway

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Langdon Rules
Shawn Langdon won Sunday in Funny Car at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. (Shawn Crose photo)

MADISON, Ill. – In an all-Kalitta Motorsports final round, Shawn Langdon beat teammate J.R. Todd to win in Funny Car Sunday during the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the second of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Langdon, a former Top Fuel world champion, became just the second driver in NHRA history to win in both nitro classes at St. Louis, going 4.068 seconds at 310.41 mph in his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry to beat Todd, the defending world champion.

Langdon who also beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jim Campbell and Bob Tasca III on Sunday, earned his second career Funny Car win and 16th overall victory.

Todd, who is now fifth in points, picked up his 33rd final-round appearance with wins against Jack Beckman, No. 1 qualifier John Force and Robert Hight, who took over the points lead on Sunday.

It was also the first all-Kalitta Motorsports final round in Funny Car since 2016, a matchup that included Del Worsham, who is the co-crew chief on Langdon’s car.

“What an incredible day,” said Langdon, who climbed to seventh in the Funny Car standings. “Going through qualifying, we had a consistent car. We’ve got such a great group of guys and it was a pretty good day. Anytime you can get a win in this class, it builds momentum. We had to make some big changes coming into St. Louis and the car was flawless for me to drive.

“I love racing for (team owner) Connie (Kalitta). He just has so much passion. He’s a great motivator and a great leader, and we just follow his vision. We all just work together.”

Billy Torrence beat his son Steve in an all-Torrence final round, going 3.835 at 319.67 in his Capco Contractors dragster.

It was the second time father and son have met in the finals, with Steve taking the first matchup, and just the third father-son final-round matchup in NHRA history.

Billy Torrence beat Kyle Wurtzel, points leader Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett to reach the final round before picking up his third win this season and fourth in his career.

Steve Torrence reached the final round for the 52nd time in his career, as the defending world champ beat Scott Palmer, Pat Dakin and No. 1 qualifier Mike Salinas.

The runner-up showing also pulled him to within two points of points leader Kalitta, but the final round belonged to his father, who moved to ninth in the standings with four playoff races remaining.

“To get to race Steve in the final was the goal,” Billy Torrence said. “We watched how we qualified and we did a good job of staying on opposite sides of the ladder. It came out a little better for me in the end this time. It’s tough to come out here. You’re at the pinnacle of drag racing on this level, but I’ve got to have fun.

“It’s just a blessing to get to be out here with my family. We’ve raced everything and it’s just really fun. It’s a family sport and we’re right in the middle of it.”

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