Rookie Langdon one of the defending champions of Houston race HOUSTON (March 24) -- Rookie Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon enters this weekend's 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil as the defending race champion and ...
Rookie Langdon one of the defending champions of Houston race
HOUSTON (March 24) -- Rookie Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon enters this weekend's 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil as the defending race champion and back-to-back reigning world champion.
Confused as to how a rookie can earn such distinctions? Well, although the 25-year-old Langdon is new to the professional ranks, taking over the wheel of the Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers Top Fuel dragster in January, he's certainly not new to drag racing.
Langdon won the last two Super Comp world titles in a Lucas Oil-sponsored dragster. He also won the '08 Houston race in the same car, and was a runner-up at this event in 2007. Additionally, Langdon won the Super Gas title at Houston Raceway Park in 2005.
"It is a little strange when people call me a rookie," said Langdon, who started racing Junior Dragsters at age 12. "Although, as far as driving the Top Fuel car, I certainly know I'm new. I have been driving my whole life though and it'll be cool to come into Houston as the defending champion, even if it is in Super Comp where I won't have a chance to defend that title. I'll just have to try to do it in the Top Fuel dragster.
"The NHRA always puts pictures of each class winner from the previous year in the programs they sell to the fans. It's cool to see your car and name up there at the top of the page. It's one of those things you save for the scrapbook. Trust me, I'm just as proud of those Super Comp wins as anything I've ever done. That's a tough category."
Langdon is doing pretty well with his new mount also. He's successfully qualified for the first three races of the year, twice in the top half of the field, and recorded elimination-round wins in both Phoenix and Gainesville, Fla. He's currently eighth in the Full Throttle championship points.
"We knew from the start there would be a bit of a learning curve for me getting into a Top Fuel car," Langdon said. "My goal has been to learn as much as I can and try to experience as many of the variables as possible while still keeping the car in the top 10 so we're qualified for the playoffs. The team is actually way ahead of where they were a year ago so everyone is happy. We seem to be right on track.
"It'll be great to race Houston. It's a track where I've won at a few times and it's one of those places where I feel comfortable. We all have certain tracks where we just seem to do better at for some reason and HRP is one of those tracks for me."