BACK HOME AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA -- It's not quite Jim Nabors at the Indianapolis 500, but the NHRA Full Throttle Series' return to Pomona is a homecoming for four of the six Toyota-sponsored drivers in the series. Larry Dixon (Van Nuys), Del Worsham...
BACK HOME AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA -- It's not quite Jim Nabors at the Indianapolis 500, but the NHRA Full Throttle Series' return to Pomona is a homecoming for four of the six Toyota-sponsored drivers in the series. Larry Dixon (Van Nuys), Del Worsham (Chino Hills), Cruz Pedregon (Torrance) and Shawn Langdon (Riverside) all were raised in Southern California. Of course, the region also is host to Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.'s headquarters in Torrance.
WINNING AT POMONA -- Four Toyota-sponsored drivers have previously won at Pomona with Antron Brown winning the most recent Top Fuel run in November. Brown also won the Pro Stock Motorcycle class 1999. None of the Toyota contingent has had more success at the Southern California track than four-time Pomona winner Larry Dixon, who was victorious in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2008. In addition, both Toyota Camry Solara Funny Car drivers, Cruz Pedregon (1995 and 2008) and Del Worsham (2001 and 2003) are two-time Pomona winners.
GOOD STUDY HABITS PAY OFF -- As a child, Shawn Langdon found out early that good grades would were the key to fast times. Growing up just 20 minutes from the Auto Club Raceway, Langdon's father, Chad (the 1977 Winternationals winner in Stock Eliminators), would reward him with a trip to Pomona if he received good grades on his report card. Fifteen years later, Langdon is preparing for his sophomore season in the Top Fuel ranks. He registered eight semi-final and one finals appearance as a rookie last season on the way to qualifying for the Countdown and an eventual ninth-place finish. Even with the success, Langdon hasn't forgotten those childhood days at the dragway.
"I knew that if I got good grades, I'd get taken to Pomona as a reward," said Langdon. "I would go out and try to get all of the drivers' autographs. I remember when I was the kid on the other side of the ropes at Pomona just hoping the drivers would stop for a minute. I know how much it meant to me and I try to remember that every time I go to the race track today."
LAST YEAR'S WINTERNATIONALS -- Antron Brown made it to the finals of last year's Winternationals at Pomona before falling to Doug Kalitta in the finals. Morgan Lucas made it two Toyota-sponsored drivers in the Top Fuel semi-finals with a strong run on the way to a three-win season.
Things didn't go quite as well on the Funny Car side as Del Worsham was eliminated in the quarter-finals after qualifying second in the first race for the new Al-Anabi Racing team, while Cruz Pedregon was eliminated in the round of 16.
-source: toyota motorsports