Langdon Sets Sights On New England

Shawn Langdon topped NHRA Top Fuel qualifying Saturday at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash. (Ivan Veldhuizen Photo)
Shawn Langdon drives to one of three victories this season at Heartland Park Topeka. (Ivan Veldhuizen Photo)

EPPING, N.H. — The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is currently in the midst of one of its most grueling stretches of the season with four races in consecutive weeks and seven races in an eight-week span.

For Top Fuel standout Shawn Langdon, who is currently second in points, it couldn’t come at a better time. Langdon is having the most success of his still-young Top Fuel career, putting together three wins in the class in his Al-Anabi dragster.

The second stop on the four-race stretch is certainly one of the most anticipated for Langdon as well, as the NHRA visits New England Dragway for the first time for the inaugural Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 20-23.

With his recent run in his 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster, Langdon will be one to watch in Epping. But he’s not taking it for granted, knowing full well that a talented group is right on his heels as he trails seven-time Funny Car world champion and current points leader Tony Schumacher by just a single point.

“Being the one of the top guys near the top of the points standings, it just means you’ve got a bunch of talented drivers gunning for you on raceday,” Langdon said. “We just want to stick with what has gotten us to this point and we’ll just continue to do the best we can. You definitely can’t take anybody lightly in this sport. We’re on a roll right now and hopefully it can just continue.”

As for the busy stretch, which only includes a spare weekend here and there until a four race in four week span kicks off the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs in September, Langdon welcomes it.

“This is the perfect time and opportunity to keep riding this streak out, and hopefully we can keep it going,” Langdon said. “I definitely feel like the track is my second home, but I just love racing and going to the track.

“My life is drag racing. I wake up in the morning thinking about drag racing and go to bed thinking about it. I love racing, so this stretch is great. If we could race every weekend, I would be completely fine with that.”

That attitude has led to significant improvement in Langdon’s second year with Al-Anabi Racing. He started the 2013 NHRA season with a win and followed it with back-to-back wins in Topeka and Englishtown.

That hot stretch has him excited for the summer season that includes the NHRA’s debut at the legendary New England Dragway. Langdon, who has already produced several runs in the low-to-mid 3.70s this year, will make its first-ever runs in Epping and the Avon, Ind. resident is thrilled to introduce his 330-mph Top Fuel dragster to a new fanbase.

“One of the things that I have really enjoyed the last couple of years is going to new venues. You get to meet a lot of different people and see a different style of living, and that’s always a lot of fun,” said Langdon, who has four career Top Fuel wins.

“Going to New Hampshire and New England Dragway, it’s great for the sport. It expands our horizons and hopefully the fans will enjoy it. Part of the sport growing is going to new places and showing them a good time.”

There will be plenty of work to be done in figuring out a new track in a run of four straight race weekends. The heavy workload will be a major test for Langdon and his talented team, and part of that means quickly figuring out the Epping facility during Friday’s first day of qualifying.

“As a driver, those first couple of runs on a new track are always exciting because each track has its own characteristics,” Langdon said. “You work with your team to find those out and hopefully you can just continue to improve as the weekend goes along.”

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