NHRA's 'Starting Line Assassin' Langdon sharpening his skills in south Florida
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 2) -- The initial few days of testing at Palm Beach International Raceway are done for Shawn Langdon and the Lucas Oil/Speedco Top Fuel dragster and everyone on the crew is pleased with the car's progress.
"The first couple days of testing are all about getting back into the groove," Langdon said. "In the winter you get into a slow-pace mentality of relaxing around the shop so it's great to test like this and come out of hibernation.J
"For me it's getting that feel for the car back. For the crew chiefs, we've got new parts and updated parts and they've got to make sure everything is working right."
The testing session is off to a good start with Langdon clocking in a best pass of 3.85 seconds.
"We're just trying to pick up where we left off," said Langdon, who finished fifth in last year's NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel points, including a runner-up result at the season-ending event. "These next two days we're going to hopefully be able to get after it and push things more.
"One of the runs we had today showed some good numbers early and we could have gone a 3.81 or 3.82, but we dropped a cylinder. There's potential there, we just have to keep after it."
Beside trying to shave time off his ETs, Langdon said these test sessions are the perfect -- and really only -- opportunity to experiment with different parts and engine combinations under real race conditions.
"Now is the time to try the things that you are too scared to try during the season," Langdon said. "When the season starts, you don't want to get lost. Here you can try different stuff and not worry."
Langdon said his third preseason test since turning pro car him much more relaxed in the cockpit and focusing on zeroing in on what he needs to do behind the wheel.
"The first year was a completely new thing for me and I wasn't worried about anything other than getting my license," Langdon said. "Last year still felt kind of new to me because I really hadn't had an off-season and didn't know what to expect.
"Now I've worked through all the rusty stuff. My first couple of lights (reaction times) I was in the mid-to-high .050s. Last year I averaged an .052 (to lead the class). My last few lights today I got it down to an .042 to an .049. I'm also looking at other was to help my reaction times with different foot positions and different visors and things."
The Lucas Oil/Speedco team plans to continue testing Wednesday before wrapping up Thursday afternoon. The NHRA Full Throttle Series season starts Feb. 24-27 with the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals from Pomona, Calif
-source: lucas oil racing