Charlotte: Shawn Langdon preview

Rookie Langdon excited about first trip to new Charlotte track CHARLOTTE (Sept. 15) -- Although he's a rookie in the Top Fuel class, Shawn Langdon has been drag racing since he was 12 and has therefore seen plenty of drag strips around the ...

Rookie Langdon excited about first trip to new Charlotte track

CHARLOTTE (Sept. 15) -- Although he's a rookie in the Top Fuel class, Shawn Langdon has been drag racing since he was 12 and has therefore seen plenty of drag strips around the country. But even the experienced three-time world champion will encounter something new when he arrives at zMax Dragway for this weekend's second annual Carolina Nationals.

"It's one of the few places I haven't seen," said Langdon, the back-to-back and reigning Super Comp champ who also won a world title in Junior Dragster in 1997. "The best thing is the track is owned by Bruton Smith so you know it's going to be really nice. I'm interested to see the four-lane configuration also. I'm really excited to get there."

Aside from this being his first visit to zMax, Langdon has several other reasons to be excited as the weekend approaches, most notably the fact he drove his Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster into the Countdown to 1 playoff field.

"We've said from the start that the regular season was going to be my chance to get used to the car and how to compete at this level," Langdon said. "I definitely think we're there. I've made enough passes now that I'm reacting instinctively to everything that happens. You never stop learning in these things but I'm certainly a lot more comfortable than I was seven months ago.

"The car has come back to us and we've found the consistency we had earlier in the year. We can run with anybody in the class and with the Countdown to 1 starting and the points getting reset, it really helps us feel like we're right back in the thick of the fight."

Ten teams from the 18-race regular season are now eligible to compete for the 2009 Full Throttle title. That group, which includes Langdon and teammate Morgan Lucas, now begins a six-race sprint to the finish to determine the ultimate NHRA champion.

"All 10 of us are within 110 points of one another now since they reset the points so it's really anyone's game," Langdon said. "We saw last year in Funny Car where one driver got really hot down the stretch and managed to win the title. That proves how important it is to rise to the occasion now.

"Stewie (crew chief John Stewart) and the guys on this team are all very experienced and they know what's at stake here. We'd love to make a run, win a few of these races, and put ourselves in a position to be there at the end.

"It all starts this weekend and we're ready to get after it."

-credit: mlr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas , Shawn Langdon