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Things are looking up for rookie Langdon ATLANTA (April 15) -- Coming off the best outing of his brief professional career, rookie Top Fuel racer Shawn Langdon is anxious to get to Atlanta Dragway and make the 29th annual Summit Racing ...

Things are looking up for rookie Langdon

ATLANTA (April 15) -- Coming off the best outing of his brief professional career, rookie Top Fuel racer Shawn Langdon is anxious to get to Atlanta Dragway and make the 29th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals his personal playground.

The only true first-year professional of this year's rookie-of-the-year contenders, Langdon impressed at the NHRA's last stop in Las Vegas when he earned the No. 1 qualifying position and recorded a semifinal finish in his 8,000-horsepower Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster. He's hoping to carry some of that momentum from Sin City to the Deep South.

"Las Vegas was awesome for our team and we definitely left there feeling like we have a great racecar," the 26-year-old Langdon said. "It was one of those races where you wish the next event was just a day or two away because you just want to get in your hot rod and make more runs. Atlanta can't start soon enough for me."

A solid top-10 runner all season, Langdon's early-season goal of getting used to the intricacies of the world's fastest accelerating machine is moving forward at a smooth pace.

"Every run is still a learning experience but I'm getting to the point where I feel as though I can give Stewie (crew chief John Stewart) and the crew guys a lot better feedback after every run and I think that's helping us," Langdon said. "I've raced since I was 12 but nothing can really prepare you for these cars. It's like nothing else.

"It's funny because the question you get asked the most by the media and the fans is 'What's it like to drive one of those things?' The problem is there's no good answer. It's just impossible to describe how cool it is and what it feels like to accelerate that fast."

The back-to-back and reigning world champion in Super Comp, where cars cover the quarter-mile in 8.9 seconds at 175 mph, Langdon is proving to be very efficient in his new ride. Although the official early-season statistics haven't been released by National Dragster magazine, Langdon is at or near the top in average reaction time, a key component to driving success.

"It's something I take a lot of pride in," Langdon said of his ability to cut a good light when the starting line Christmas tree turns green. "I think all those years of Sportsman racing really help on that stuff. If I can help my crew chief out by removing one of the things he has to worry about then that's awesome. He has enough other stuff to worry about. I have to do my job to the best of my ability every time up there.

"Right now, everything is working well and I think we can win one of these things real soon. It would be cool if it were this weekend's race in Atlanta. I know I'm ready."

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Langdon