Langdon scores fifth semifinal result of '09; Lucas reaches quarterfinals ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14) -- Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Shawn Langdon put in another solid day's work Sunday at the 40th annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals,...
Langdon scores fifth semifinal result of '09; Lucas reaches quarterfinals
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14) -- Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Shawn Langdon put in another solid day's work Sunday at the 40th annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals, racing to his fifth semifinal finish of the year in his Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster to reestablish himself as the top first-year pro in the sport.
"This was a good day and a great way to finish off the three races in a row we just completed," Langdon said. "Of course, we're still anxious to get our first win of the season but when you keep getting to the final four you know your time is going to come. It's not like we're losing in Round 1 and never have a chance. Without winning the race, I'd say we're pretty happy in the Lucas pit right now."
Langdon's teammate and car owner, Morgan Lucas, also regained some measure of reliability at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, winning his 13th elimination-round race of the season en route to a quarterfinal finish to keep the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster in the championship mix.
"If there's one thing I've learned in my five years in Top Fuel it's that you can't make big moves overnight," Lucas said. "We fixed a lot of things this weekend and the car is responding better so we're encouraged with how things are going. We're not where we want to be or where we need to be, but we're closer now than we were four days ago."
The day started well for Langdon as he posted the quickest elapsed time and top speed of his Top Fuel career in catching and passing first-round opponent Terry McMillen to win with a 3.844 at 311.77 mph. McMillen's 3.891 at 308.99 mph just wasn't enough.
"It was pretty much a perfect pass," Langdon said.
Next, Langdon got his first win in three match-ups against veteran Cory McClenathan with a stellar .060-second reaction time that translated to a big holeshot win. The final numbers showed Langdon crossing the finish line with a 3.894 at 308.78 mph to McClenathan's 3.881 at 311.77 mph.
With a trip to the final round on the line, Langdon's hot rod proved to have a little too much horsepower for the racetrack as he went up in a cloud of tire smoke at 300 feet. That allowed two-time world champ Larry Dixon to take the win with a 3.883 at 310.34 mph to Langdon's coasting 5.944 at 115.17 mph.
"It's rained on and off all weekend and the track changed as the day went along," Langdon said. "I'm not sure if it was deteriorating out there in the middle but either way Larry found a way down and we didn't. It was still a good weekend."
After having one of the most encouraging qualifying sessions since his big win in Atlanta, Lucas started race day with a smooth 3.881 at 309.84 mph that eliminated Terry Haddock's 4.265 at 236.05 mph.
The 25-year-old Lucas then got into a pedaling contest with point leader Antron Brown but couldn't overcome the fact his GEICO Powersports dragster lost traction before Brown's car did, giving all the momentum to his friendly rival. The final numbers showed Brown winning with a 4.373 at 229.20 mph to Lucas' 4.589 at 272.56 mph.
"You see the way (Antron's) team is performing this year and you have to step it up a little," Lucas said. "We tried to get after it and the track wouldn't hold what we were trying to give it. Antron got in trouble too and I was on and off the gas trying to catch him but he hooked up a little sooner than we did and that was the difference."
The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before returning to action June 25-28 for the third annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.