Runner-up finish powers Langdon into championship mix CHARLOTTE (Sept. 20) -- Rookie of the Year candidate Shawn Langdon raced to the first final round of his professional career Sunday, taking runner-up honors to veteran Cory McClenathan in a...
Runner-up finish powers Langdon into championship mix
CHARLOTTE (Sept. 20) -- Rookie of the Year candidate Shawn Langdon raced to the first final round of his professional career Sunday, taking runner-up honors to veteran Cory McClenathan in a thrilling finale of the second annual Carolina NHRA Nationals.
The strong finish lifted the 27-year-old driver of the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster into the top five of the Full Throttle standings and places him just 49 points off new leader McClenathan.
Just as he has all season, Langdon was a beast on the starting line, leaving ahead of all four men he raced. He even managed to post low elapsed time of the meet when he blistered the racetrack with a 3.826 at 315.78 mph in the semifinals.
The only thing keeping Langdon out of the winner's circle was a dropped cylinder in the final, which sucked enough power out of his car to allow McClenathan by for the win. The final numbers showed McClenathan crossing with a 3.857 at 312.64 mph to Langdon's 3.980 at 280.49 mph.
"I've said all year that I'd be happy just getting to a final to see how it felt," Langdon said. "But now I know that to get this close to my first win and come up a little short is really tough to take. Once you get so close that you can taste it you want to go ahead and finish it off.
"It would have been a dream come true to beat a guy the caliber of Cory McClenathan. Hopefully, we'll have another chance very soon.
"It's unreal to think we're one race into the playoffs and we're right there near the top of the points. It's going to be a crazy finish to the season and after running that 3.82 in the semis I think we've proven we have a car that can run with anyone. This weekend is a huge positive all the way around. The only thing that could have made it better was if we had won it all."
On the other side of the pit, team owner Morgan Lucas overpowered the racetrack with his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster in his first-round race against McClenathan. His surrendering 7.429 at 93.67 mph was no match for McClenathan's 3.861 at 315.05 mph.
"The blower was acting goofy and it was two pounds down, maybe four or five percent, of what it was giving us before and I think that threw the whole set-up off," Lucas said. "We had the car set exactly like it was last night but it didn't react the same.
"I'm thrilled for Shawn. This has been a long time coming for him, especially considering the way he's been driving. It's great to see how excited he was to get to the final. I was willing his car through the lights but when I saw the hole out I knew he was in a bit of trouble. Even so, what a weekend for that side of the team. It was a great job all the way around."