KENT, WA – July 31, 2019 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Shawn Langdon sees an impressive trend from his team heading to an important part of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. The former Top Fuel world champ picked up his first career Funny Car win earlier this year, but with the way his team has performed in recent weeks, a second victory may not be too far off.
Langdon went to another final round to open July and the Kalitta Motorsports team has looked strong in qualifying to start the famed NHRA Western Swing. Heading into the final race of the rigorous three-week stretch at this weekend’s 32nd annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, Langdon believes another win could be just around the corner in his 11,000-horsepower Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry.
“The car has just been making good runs lately,” said Langdon, who is currently ninth in Funny Car points. “We’ve been qualifying a lot better and the quality of runs we’ve had, it’s been a big change the last couple races. It’s definitely important with the (Mello Yello) Countdown to the Championship coming up quick. This is a crucial time of the year to be fine-tuning your car and every point matters. Hopefully we can continue to put good runs together.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 and the FOX national broadcast network, including live final eliminations on FOX starting at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 4. Sitting in the shadows of majestic Mount Rainier and surrounded by towering trees, the race is the16th of 24 during a 2019 season that has already included a number of bright spots for Langdon.
After debuting in Funny Car in 2018, Langdon picked up his first win in the class in Charlotte earlier this year. But the consistent stretch in July has been just as impressive, as Langdon qualified second in Sonoma and moved up a spot in points. It’s precisely the type of performances he wants to see with the playoffs approaching, and he can see the confidence growing within the team.
“We’re still in the learning stages with some of the things we’ve changed the last couple months,” said Langdon, who has 15 career wins. “Our qualifying in Sonoma showed a lot of potential the team has. The main motivating factor right now is we know we can compete. I feel like we’re in a good position now and we want to keep maintaining what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a great car, and our primary focus every time we pull in is to give 100 percent and do the best job we can.”
Getting through the three-race Western Swing is an arduous task, but Langdon likes what he sees out of his team heading into Seattle. He’ll have to contend with the likes of points leader Robert Hight, who won in Sonoma, defending event winner Ron Capps, teammate and defending champ J.R. Todd, and Tommy Johnson Jr., but Langdon is after his first nitro win at the facility. His first national event victory came at Seattle in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in Super Comp, and now he wants to add a Funny Car victory to that.
“I always have good feelings heading back to Seattle,” said Langdon, who has two final round appearances at Pacific Raceways. “We’ve got a great group of guys and I’ve got a great team behind me. They work their butts off to put together a great car and it’s just a self-motivating group. We’ve shown what the car is capable off and I think we’re all excited heading to Seattle.”
Antron Brown will try for his fourth straight win at Pacific Raceways in Top Fuel, but he’ll have to get past class standouts Steve Torrence, the defending world champ and points leader, Clay Millican, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pritchett and Doug Kalitta.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson will have a chance to sweep the Western Swing with a victory. He accomplished that in 2004, and is the only driver in the class to ever do it. Trying to stop him will be the likes of points leader Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin, Deric Kramer and Matt Hartford.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series as well, showcasing the future stars of the sport, as well as the Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series. After nitro qualifying, watch the special wheel stander. “Nitro Mike” will wheelie the “PT Bruiser” a quarter-mile down the track, turn around and come back up the track.
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Pacific Raceways will host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Cruising with Castello Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals victories.
As always, fans can 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. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:00 and 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 1:45 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4.
There will be live qualifying coverage on FS1 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 2, with additional live qualifying on FS1 at 5 p.m. ET on Aug. 3. FS1 will televise more qualifying at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 3, with three hours of live finals coverage shifting to FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 4.
To purchase general admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. 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 program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; 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 Shawn Langdon, Shawn Langdon Shawn Langdon Shawn Langdon Shawn Langdon