LAS VEGAS, NV – October 20, 2016 (Motor Sports Newswire) – – The last time Shawn Langdon was at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he was mired in a frustrating early-season slump that included five straight first-round losses to open the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Much has changed since that March race and Langdon is now in the midst of an impressive finish to his year. The 2013 Top Fuel world champion has posted three victories, including one in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and sits in third place in his 10,000-horsepower Red Fuel/Sandvik dragster heading back to Las Vegas Oct. 27-30 for the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.
“What we did at the beginning of the year, nobody was hanging their heads,” said Langdon, who is 172 points back of teammate and points leader Antron Brown. “You’re just going to go through struggles once in a while. But what we’ve done since is what we’re capable of. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in my first full year as a driver with the team. We’ve got a great car, a great team and everyone’s done a great job.”
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will for the first time be aired on FOX Sports 1 this October. On Sunday, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 4 p.m. (ET).
The race is the fifth of sixth races in the Countdown to the Championship and the penultimate event of the 2016 NHRA season. Langdon has his sights set on a big finish and capitalizing on his victory in St. Louis.
“Starting the Countdown in seventh, we’ve made a really good move and have a great chance to finish second,” said Langdon, who trails Kalitta by just 22 points. “We still have a very, very outside chance to win a championship, but second place is nothing to hang your head about in this class. There’s so many tough, competitive teams and we’re just going to continue to try and win races.”
Langdon’s late-season surge is even more impressive considering his first-round loss at the Countdown opener in Charlotte. The team, led by crew chiefs Phil Shuler and Todd Okuhara, has responded with a victory and two semifinal finishes, and Langdon hopes to dial it up even more in Las Vegas and then the finale in Pomona.
“This a great race at a great facility and one of the races you definitely look forward to every year,” Langdon said. “It’s obviously a big race and it would be really good to end the year on a good note. Being one of the races for your sponsor and knowing you’ll have a lot of friends and family there, you definitely get up for these kinds of races.”
Force’s John Force Racing teammate Hight won in Funny Car last year, but Ron Capps currently holds a 24-point advantage over Tommy Johnson Jr. Capps also must hold off the likes of Jack Beckman, reigning world champ Del Worsham and Matt Hagan.
Enders clinched her second straight Pro Stock championship a year ago with a Vegas win, but this season has belonged to teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson. Points leader Line has eight wins in 2016 and Anderson, who is 45 points back, has seven.
Hines’ Vegas victory in Pro Stock Motorcycle in 2015 helped clinched a second straight title. Hines has five wins this year and has a 38-point lead on teammate Eddie Krawiec.
The NHRA Toyota Nationals also features competition in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. As always, fans have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying feature two rounds at 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, and two final rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 11:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-644-4444 or 702-644-4444. Tickets available online at http://www.lvms.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more info visit www.NHRA.com.
NHRA TOYOTA NATIONALS
WHAT: 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the fifth of six playoff races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas. Track is located approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas off I-15.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 2,100 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 27-30
THURSDAY, Oct. 27 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
FRIDAY, Oct. 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, Oct. 29 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 1:30 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5:30 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 11:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Nov. 1 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10:15 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 28, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise one hour of live qualifying coverage at 6 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 30, FS1 will air one hour of qualifying coverage at 10 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 30, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 4 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS: Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock; Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: Andrew Hines, PSM, 5; Greg Anderson, PS, 4; Ron Capps, FC, 4; Tony Schumacher, TF, 4; John Force, FC, 3.
Top Fuel – 3.722 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’15 and 332.67 mph by Shawn Langdon, Oct. ’15.
Funny Car – 3.931 sec. by Tommy Johnson Jr., Oct. ’15 and 325.92 mph by Del Worsham, Oct. ’15.
Pro Stock – 6.559 sec. and 210.28 mph by Erica Enders, Oct. ’15.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.852 sec. by Jerry Savoie, Oct. ’15; 196.56 mph by Eddie Krawiec, Oct. ’11
Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 644-4444, or visit www.LVMS.com.
ENNIS, Texas — Point standings (top 10) following the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the 22nd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Antron Brown, 2,504; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,354; 3. Shawn Langdon, 2,332; 4. Brittany Force, 2,313; 5. Steve Torrence, 2,307; 6. Tony Schumacher, 2,295; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,260; 8. Leah Pritchett, 2,250; 9. Richie Crampton, 2,195; 10. Clay Millican, 2,168.
1. Ron Capps, 2,465; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,401; 3. Matt Hagan, 2,377; 4. Jack Beckman, 2,334; 5. Del Worsham, 2,320; 6. Robert Hight, 2,278; 7. John Force, 2,267; 8. Courtney Force, 2,238; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,228; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 2,151.
1. Jason Line, 2,454; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,428; 3. Vincent Nobile, 2,340; 4. Shane Gray, 2,320; 5. Bo Butner, 2,314; 6. Drew Skillman, 2,269; 7. Chris McGaha, 2,222; 8. Allen Johnson, 2,213; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 2,146; 10. Erica Enders, 2,135.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Eddie Krawiec, 2,425; 2. Andrew Hines, 2,408; 3. Jerry Savoie, 2,376; 4. Angelle Sampey, 2,365; 5. Chip Ellis, 2,328; 6. LE Tonglet, 2,288; 7. Cory Reed, 2,229; 8. Hector Arana, 2,211; 9. Matt Smith, 2,202; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 2,183.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association