Brainerd: Shawn Langdon preview

Langdon calling on denizens of the Zoo to become his 'X factor' BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11) -- If the wild denizens of Brainerd International Raceway's infamous "Zoo" need one of their own to root for this weekend at the 28th annual Lucas Oil NHRA...

Langdon calling on denizens of the Zoo to become his 'X factor'

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11) -- If the wild denizens of Brainerd International Raceway's infamous "Zoo" need one of their own to root for this weekend at the 28th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals they need look no further than rookie Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon.

More than anyone else in the professional ranks, Langdon remembers what it's like to be on the other side of the fence, cheering on his racing heroes as they zoom down BIR in 3.8 seconds at 315 mph. After all, Langdon spent the majority of the last several years elbow-to-elbow with the fans, watching his favorite sport from the bleachers that front the over-flowing campground on the infield of BIR's road course.

"Every time I've been to Brainerd I end up in the stands on that side of the track because the people are just crazy," Langdon said. "You can't sit over there and not have a good time. It's impossible. That's why all the sportsman racers go over to that side. There's no place like the Zoo any where we go on the NHRA tour."

Prior to turning professional this past off-season when he took over the seat of the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster, Langdon raced a Super Comp dragster to much success. In fact, strong showings at BIR in the past two season helped lift him to back-to-back world championships in the category, considered one of the toughest in the sport.

"I guess because it's so much fun you don't feel so much pressure when you're racing in Brainerd," Langdon said. "It's like old time drag racing where you go to an event to have fun with your friends.

"Of course, this race is really important to Lucas Oil and to all of us that race for Forrest and Charlotte (Lucas, company founders). They've done so much for me and I can't think of a better way to say thanks to them then winning the race they sponsor. We're sure going to give it our best shot."

With just three races left before the playoffs, Langdon seems a lock to make the 10-person Countdown to 1 field. He's an even 15-15 on race day this season with five semifinal results and one low qualifier honor to his credit. All that's missing is a win.

"Stewie (crew chief John Stewart) and the guys have been so cool to me this year while I've been learning the car and how to compete at this level," the 26-year-old Langdon said. "They've also given me a great racecar every weekend. I know we have a chance to win any race and that's exciting for a driver.

"Maybe if my crazy friends over there in the Zoo root a little extra hard for me that might make the difference. I'll make a promise right now: If I win this race, I'm inviting everyone from the Zoo into the winner's circle. We'll have a party like never before."

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Langdon