Pomona II: Shawn Langdon preview

Langdon arrives at Pomona with a different viewpoint POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11) -- This weekend's season-ending 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals will have a distinctly different feeling for rookie Top Fuel racer Shawn...

Langdon arrives at Pomona with a different viewpoint

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11) -- This weekend's season-ending 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals will have a distinctly different feeling for rookie Top Fuel racer Shawn Langdon. In February, Langdon arrived in Pomona with only a few licensing passes under his belt. This time through, he's got a full year of experience on his resume and a decidedly different outlook.

"I was really nervous when the season started," said Langdon, who entered 2009 as the back-to-back world champion in Super Comp. "I knew how to drag race but I didn't know much about driving a Top Fuel dragster. It's something I had dreamed about for a long time but when you finally get the chance it's pretty overwhelming.

"I remember thinking I didn't want to screw up. I knew everyone on the team had been at it for a long time and that I was the new guy. I didn't want to let them down. I was so focused on doing my job. I just wanted to absorb as much as I could."

As it turns out, Langdon was a quick study behind the wheel of an 8,000-horsepower racecar and he soon rose to the top of the charts in reaction time average while maintaining a top-10 ranking throughout the season. His Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster became a Sunday contender at NHRA stops all over the country and he managed to fashion a race day record of 24-23, a solid start to a promising career.

"There's no doubt I feel a million times better now than I did the first time we came to Pomona," said Langdon, a native of nearby Riverside, Calif. "I'm very comfortable in the car and I've reached a point where things are coming naturally for me.

"I think the best thing is I know we have a car capable of winning every race. We're right there with all the top teams and it wouldn't surprise anyone if we won this weekend. I have learned that winning at this level takes a certain amount of timing. Everything has to fall into place for you to win. There are just too many good cars for anyone to dominate week-in and week-out."

With numerous family members and boyhood friends attending this weekend's race, Langdon is hoping to end the year with a bang.

"It would be cool to finish it all off with a win," Langdon admitted. "We'll have a ton of support with everyone from home and all the people from Lucas Oil headquarters over in Corona. It would be very satisfying to end this year in the winner's circle.

"Regardless of what happens I'll feel as though this year has been a success. As a team, we celebrated Morgan (Lucas') three wins, we both made the Countdown to 1, and we had a few No. 1 qualifiers along the way. Next year I can only see us getting stronger and better."

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Langdon