Langdon often taps into Sportsman roots during rookie pro season INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31) -- Rookie Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon has used the first 17 races of the 2009 season to earn a reputation as a killer on the starting line. At or near the...
Langdon often taps into Sportsman roots during rookie pro season
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31) -- Rookie Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon has used the first 17 races of the 2009 season to earn a reputation as a killer on the starting line. At or near the top of the reaction time charts since he first stepped on the throttle of the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster in February, Langdon's opponents have learned they can't take him lightly, despite his relative inexperience in an 8,000-horsepower rail.
Although casual race fans might be wondering where this reaction time wunderkind came from, people within the sport knew Langdon was going to be a handful when he finally got his chance at the big time.
"Picking Shawn to drive the Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster was one of the easiest decisions I've had to make as a team owner," said Morgan Lucas, Langdon's teammate, car owner, and longtime friend. "He's a machine when he's in a racecar. The guy won the last two world championships in Super Comp, which to me is easily one of the toughest categories in all of motorsports. To win that class in back-to-back years is darn near impossible. That's how good Shawn is as a driver."
Coming from a category that lives and dies at the starting line more than any other in the sport, Langdon continues to hone his craft in his old hot rod, running several bracket races and divisional events in the off weekends from the Full Throttle pro tour.
"It's definitely helped me," Langdon said of his continued Sportsman activities. "Any time you can be in a racecar in a competitive environment it keeps you sharp. The main goal I set for myself coming into this year was to do my part in the racecar. I knew I'd make mistakes. I knew there would be a learning curve on a lot of things, but hitting the tree is something that's the same no matter what you're driving. I knew it could be something I could contribute to the team right away."
After completing another three days of Sportsman racing in Bowling Green, Ky., over the past weekend, Langdon feels ready to take on drag racing's biggest event -- the 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. As a resident of Brownsburg and the driver of one of the most recognizable cars in the Lucas Oil fleet, he knows a lot of eyes will be on him over the holiday weekend.
"Our race shop is here so everyone will have a chance to join us at the races and bring out there friends and family," Langdon said. "Plus, Lucas Oil is the presenting sponsor of this event and the company obviously has a big presence in Indianapolis through its connection with the Colts so all the corporate people will be in town. It's a big weekend all the way around.
"Me and Morgan tested our cars at the track last week and really gained some great data. I made six passes in my car and Stewie (crew chief John Stewart) was happy. We've already locked up a spot in the playoffs so we can kind of relax and just go for the win and have some fun. It should be a big weekend."