Langdon returns to final four; Streak ends for Lucas READING, Pa. (Aug. 23) -- Rookie racer Shawn Langdon was the star of Team Lucas Racing Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway, reaching his sixth semifinal of the year after big wins against Doug Foley...
Langdon returns to final four; Streak ends for Lucas
READING, Pa. (Aug. 23) -- Rookie racer Shawn Langdon was the star of Team Lucas Racing Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway, reaching his sixth semifinal of the year after big wins against Doug Foley and Dave Grubnic. Car owner and teammate Morgan Lucas, meanwhile, ended his winning streak at four rounds after bowing out early opposite Grubnic. Lucas won the last Full Throttle national event in Brainerd, Minn.
Langdon drove like a man possessed throughout race day, leaving the starting line well ahead of all three men he faced, including Larry Dixon, who eliminated him in the semifinals. His average reaction time was an otherworldly .039 seconds, by far the best in the nitro ranks.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic right now," Langdon said. "Short of winning the race, it's hard to feel any better about both cars right now. We've got a great pair of hot rods and it couldn't come at a better time because we're heading into our home race in Indy. It's a big event for everyone at Lucas Oil, and a big event for the sport."
The reigning back-to-back world champion in Super Comp, Langdon opened with a 3.964 at 282.48 mph in his Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster against Foley's 3.979 at 273.33 mph. He then dismissed Grubnic in the heat of the day with a 4.000 at 253.14 mph versus Grubnic's off-pace 4.905 at 149.66 mph.
Against Dixon, Langdon zipped away to a .013-second headstart but his hot rod began hazing its giant rear tires, which gave Dixon a chance to catch and pass him to take the victory with a 3.919 at 301.94 mph to his 4.033 at 253.18 mph.
"First things first; let's give Larry Dixon and that team a lot of credit because a 3.91 under those conditions was stout," Langdon said. "We would have needed a low 3.93 to even have a chance. It dropped a cylinder right away and even though it picked it back up almost immediately it kind of knocked the breath out of the engine.
"We did what we could with the track. It's been a crazy weekend with the rain and the water seeping up through the track. All things considered, I think we did a great job."
After posting a huge starting line advantage with a.050-second reaction time to Dave Grubnic's .109-second start, Lucas appeared to be sailing away to an easy first-round victory. But just before the eighth-mile mark, his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster began to spin its tires, allowing Grubnic by to post an upset win with a 4.005 at 282.48 mph to Lucas' 4.511 at 209.62 mph.
"I don't think anyone on this team should be disappointed," Lucas said. "I sure don't want this to carry over to the next race. We just need to put this behind us and move on because we have a great hot rod. We'll be fine.
"We don't see conditions like this very much. I mean, it's really hot but it's also extremely humid. We see hot conditions a lot but not with this much water in the air. Maybe Memphis, if the weather goes that way, but otherwise this isn't the norm. It sucks to lose in the first round but these things happen."
The next race on the Full Throttle NHRA circuit runs Sept. 2-7 with the 55th running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Morgan Lucas Racing plans to test both of its dragsters this coming week in Indy in anticipation of the sport's most prestigious and longest running event.