Denver: Shawn Langdon final report

Langdon locks up Countdown berth as Lucas Oil team exits Denver DENVER (July 25) -- On a day when highlights were limited for Lucas Oil's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series racers, Top Fuel's Shawn Langdon did walk away from the 31st annual...

Langdon locks up Countdown berth as Lucas Oil team exits Denver

DENVER (July 25) -- On a day when highlights were limited for Lucas Oil's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series racers, Top Fuel's Shawn Langdon did walk away from the 31st annual Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway with his ticket to the NHRA's postseason, the Countdown to the Championship.

"Our main goal at the start of the year was to make the field for the Countdown and we clinched our spot today, so that's good," Langdon said. "Although it's hard to be super excited after a first-round loss; it was just a good race that we lost by a few feet."

Langdon wasn't the only Lucas Oil driver to exit early on Sunday. Both Larry Morgan and Hector Arana also suffered first-round losses.

Langdon and the Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster were paired up against "Hot Rod" Fuller in the opening round. In what has been a rarity this season, Fuller got off the line first against Langdon.

"I was off a hundredth of a second from my reaction time average in qualifying and the car probably could have been a hundredth or two quicker just now so we could have been in a position to win because the difference was just two hundredths, but all these 'could haves' don't mean much," Langdon said.

Fuller ran a 3.981 second lap at 304.25 mph to Langdon's 3.995 at 305.29 mph.

Langdon added that the team is going to use the next two off weekends to refocus before next month's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Minnesota.

"We have a few big things we're going to change before Brainerd and see how they work there and at the Indy test session," Langdon said. "We need to quit being conservative. We need to step on it and quit being afraid.

"Right now we have a good, conservative racecar, but that's not going to win us a championship. It's going to make us a top 10 car, which is what we are right now."

Arana suffered a rare first-round defeat on the Lucas Oil Buell against Matt Smith, who cut a perfect .000 light and ran a 7.326 second pass at 180.69 mph.

"It was a rough weekend," Arana said. "We're downloading and examining the data from Round 1 right now but bottom line we didn't turn on the win light. We were working hard all weekend and just didn't find the tune-up. Sometimes that's the way it goes. We tried so hard, but nothing went right. It's time to get out of Denver."

Morgan and the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang lost a close Pro Stock race to Johnny Gray. Morgan had a solid .017 second reaction time, but Gray still got off the line first by .010 seconds. Gray went on to run a 7.010 at 196.47 mph beating Morgan's 7.028 at 196.76 mph.

"Johnny needed that light to beat me, that ol' rascal," Morgan said. "Hey, we wanted a win for Lucas Oil, obviously, but I'm sitting here looking at the (timing) sheets and we were the second quickest car in the right lane, where everyone was struggling, and we had the fifth best speed of the whole round. Big speed means we're making horsepower.

"We're not making perfect runs. I decided to get this new racecar going so we've been concentrating a lot more on the chassis and shocks than the tune-up. Now the car is running good so we can start cleaning up the tune-up and make this thing quicker."

Morgan added that he's amazed at the progress he's made.

"We've come such a long way with this Ford program," Morgan said. "My gosh, if you had told me a year ago we'd be this far along I wouldn't have believed it. I'm just so thankful to have Lucas Oil behind me and supporting this program and the changes we made. We want to pay them back in the worst way and we plan on doing that real soon."

After a stretch of seven races in eight weeks, the Lucas Oil NHRA teams get a couple of weeks off before the Aug. 13-15 Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minn.

-source: lucas oil racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Morgan , Johnny Gray , Matthew Smith , Shawn Langdon