Final-four finish for Langdon; Lucas loses his spark LAS VEGAS (April 5) -- Rookie Top Fuel pilot Shawn Langdon followed the first low qualifying effort of his brief professional career with his first final-four finish Sunday at The Strip at Las...
Final-four finish for Langdon; Lucas loses his spark
LAS VEGAS (April 5) -- Rookie Top Fuel pilot Shawn Langdon followed the first low qualifying effort of his brief professional career with his first final-four finish Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Langdon's teammate and car owner, Morgan Lucas, wasn't quite as lucky with his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster suffering spark plug problems that sidelined him in Round 1.
Riding a string of great reaction times, Langdon beat Steve Chrisman and Joe Hartley earlier in the day and had six-time champion Tony Schumacher on the ropes in the semifinals before his Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster lost power in one cylinder at the eighth-mile mark. The slight malfunction was all Schumacher needed to steal away the win, taking the stripe in 3.932 at 308.43 mph to Langdon's 4.022 at 292.27 mph.
"To get that close to our first final makes you want it even more," said Langdon, who had a monstrous .049 to .091-second reaction time advantage over Schumacher at the starting line. "I knew we left strong and the car was trucking down there. I didn't see him at all until it unloaded there at the end and he got past me.
"My confidence in this car and this crew is sky-high right now. I think it's just a matter of time before we win one together. To come out in just our fifth race together, get the pole, and come so close to reaching the final says a lot about our potential."
Like Langdon, Lucas was strong at the Christmas Tree, leaving well ahead of first-round foe Hartley with a .059 to .089-second margin. But midway down the track strange flame patterns from the header pipes signaled an internal problem and an up-close post-race inspection revealed the three spark plugs had cracked in half. The final numbers showed Hartley winning with a 4.010 at 305.22 mph to Lucas' 4.109 at 265.01 mph.
"The good news is I had a great light because that was something I've been working on quite a bit lately," Lucas said. "We had the better car and were winning the race against Joe when we were literally done in by a few $2 pieces. We'll be switching brands before the next race because that really cost us big-time right there.
"I couldn't be prouder of Shawn and his guys. They did great. My guys worked just as hard but we just don't have much to show for it right now. We'll get this thing fixed and be ready for Atlanta. That's all we can do at this point."
Lucas and Langdon remain sixth and eighth in the Full Throttle championship points.
The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before heading to Atlanta Dragway April 16-19 for the 29th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.