Pomona: Langdon, Lucas Saturday notes

Langdon and Lucas pedal their way into Pomona field POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7) -- Teammates Shawn Langdon and Morgan Lucas both used their years of drag racing experience to make the field of the rain-plagued 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA ...

Langdon and Lucas pedal their way into Pomona field

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7) -- Teammates Shawn Langdon and Morgan Lucas both used their years of drag racing experience to make the field of the rain-plagued 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals Saturday at Auto Club Raceway.

After nearly three full days of rain, rookie Langdon began his professional career by showing he can easily handle his 8,000-horsepower Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster with a nice pedal job that resulted in a 4.091-second pass at 307.79 mph.

"I talked to Stewie (crew chief John Stewart) before the run and we knew that session would probably be the one and only chance to make the show," said Langdon, a two-time world champion at the Sportsman level. "He told me to go ahead and pedal it if anything goofy happened and that's what I did."

Pedaling is a technique used by drivers to settle their cars down if the tires begin to shake or lose traction.

"According to the computer I was 1.3 seconds into the run when I must have felt something and I just pedaled it real quick," Langdon said. "I didn't have time to think about it; I just reacted. It all worked out and the car just took off from there."

Langdon will open Sunday's eliminations against veteran Cory McClenathan, who posted a 3.851 at 313.66 mph.

"I'm the rookie and I can tell you I'm going to be nervous before the race," Langdon said. "The track will be good and tight so we'll see some good numbers. It would be nice to win some rounds. Not having all four qualifying sessions kind of makes me think it's wide open and anything can happen."

Lucas' problem was a bit more severe as his tire shake problems began almost immediately at the hit of the throttle. He then stayed off the throttle for a noticeable pause before hitting the accelerator again and racing to a 4.548 at 270.81 mph.

"It was just a weak tire shake but I didn't want to get back into it too soon in case they were spinning too so I let it settle all the way down," said Lucas, a four-year veteran of the class. "I knew we had to make some kind of run that round because the weather has been so bad so I wanted to make sure I didn't get back into it too soon and smoke the tires all the way.

"It's tough when you only have one round because you need to be safe but you also need to be aggressive enough to make sure you get in the show. You can't afford a DNQ, especially at the start of the year."

Things continued to stay interesting for Lucas as several of the body panels of his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster flew off late in the run as he streaked through the top-end timers at 4.548 seconds and 270.81 mph.

"It looked worse than it was," Lucas said. "I just got a little extra air conditioning in there. I could see them coming off but I wasn't going to lift."

Lucas will face Joe Hartley in Round 1. Hartley posted a career-best 3.748 in qualifying, a time that was later deemed incorrect. However, NHRA officials left him in the spot the time earned because they couldn't determine his actual time.

"He didn't run a 3.74 but he still had a great run so we'll be tested for sure," Lucas said. "I think we're all still figuring it out at this point, which happens when you only get one run."

-credit: lor

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Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas , Joe Hartley , Shawn Langdon