Las Vegas II: Shawn Langdon preview

Rookie of the Year finalist Langdon desires strong finish LAS VEGAS (Oct. 28) -- The only true rookie in this year's freshman class, Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon, is hoping strong outings at this weekend's ninth annual Las Vegas NHRA Nationals...

Rookie of the Year finalist Langdon desires strong finish

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 28) -- The only true rookie in this year's freshman class, Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon, is hoping strong outings at this weekend's ninth annual Las Vegas NHRA Nationals and the season-ending 45th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals will push his bid for the Auto Club Rookie of the Year award over the top.

Unlike the other finalists for the coveted rookie of the year award, Langdon had no professional level experience heading into 2009. His rivals all raced professionally in other sanctions with two of the three winning pro-level championships. Nevertheless, NHRA rules allow the others to be considered for votes by the nationwide panel of journalists, leaving Langdon anxious about the outcome.

"We've done everything we can do," said Langdon, the back-to-back Super Comp champion in the Lucas Oil Series. "Right now we're higher up in the points than anyone and I think if we can get into the top five before the end of the year, which we have a real good chance of doing, than that would help.

"The main thing is we've raced hard, I've learned a ton, and it's been a dream come true just to be here. At the start of the year I was very focused on not making any mistakes that would slow the team down because these guys are all long-time racers that have been together for a long time. I didn't want to be the weak link.

"I've tried to be as steady as I can be in the car. My reaction times have been good all year. I think we've been at or near the top every time the rankings come out. That's something I'm really proud of. At the same time, the other guys up for rookie of the year are all friends of mine so I just wish everyone good luck and we'll see how it turns out."

As a final tune-up for the final two races of the year, Langdon spent last weekend racing his Lucas Oil Super Comp dragster with the So-Cal Top Comp Association in his native California. The experience was a good one as Langdon won Saturday's race, and showed well in Friday and Sunday's events.

"It was such a cool weekend because I was racing and hanging out with all my old buddies that I got my start with eight years ago," Langdon said. "We had as much fun back in the pits just catching up with each other as we did on the racetrack.

"I was real happy with my driving and I cut good lights all weekend. The rounds I lost were by all by one or two thousandths of a second. It was just a great weekend and really got me fired up for Las Vegas.

"We were the No. 1 qualifier in Vegas in the spring and we ended up racing to the semifinals. That race really started off a great streak for us, so I'm hoping we can have another big weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That's the plan."

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Langdon