Drag racing’s Shawn Langdon bears down on NHRA top-fuel title

 Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon, who is closing in on the NHRA top-fuel dragster title, had only one win prior to this season.
(Jerry Foss / Associated Press)

It’s not enough that Shawn Langdon is having a breakout year in the premier top-fuel class of NHRA drag racing. He’s after his first series title as well.

The native of Mira Loma in Riverside County holds an 83-point lead in the championship standings over Doug Kalitta with two events left: in Las Vegas this weekend and in Pomona for the season finale Nov. 7-10. Spencer Massey is third, 86 points behind Langdon.

Now in his fifth season driving 300-mph dragsters, Langdon has earned a series-high six victories in the National Hot Rod Assn.'s elite Mello Yello Series this year.

It started with his win at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, where Langdon knocked off seven-time champion Tony Schumacher in the final round.


Before this year, Langdon had only one win. But the 31-year-old driver found his stride this season with his Al-Anabi Racing team and its manager, Alan Johnson.

“Going into the last two races with a points lead is kind of a different feeling for me,” said Langdon, whose prior best points finish was fourth last year. “I am very excited and I am very proud to be in this position.”

But Langdon remained cautious. “Somebody always gets hot in the last couple of races” and a points lead “can deteriorate quickly,” he said. “If we can manage to leave Las Vegas with a lead like we have now, I’ll probably be a lot more excited about it.”



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