Drag racer Shawn Langdon makes quickest run in NHRA history

Drag racer Shawn Langdon celebrates his first career win at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania in 2013.
(Jerry Foss / Associated Press)

Drag racer Shawn Langdon made the quickest pass in NHRA history Saturday at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

Langdon, who drives in the National Hot Rod Assn.'s elite top fuel class, made the 1,000-foot run in 3.700 seconds at 328.30 mph during a qualifying round for the Circle K Winternationals.

Put another way, Langdon’s 10,000-horsepower dragster traveled an average 270 feet per second.

It’s not yet a record, though. The NHRA requires that a driver post another run at a time within 1% of the original time during the event’s weekend to have the original time certified a record.

Langdon, a Mira Loma, Calif., native, was scheduled for one more qualifying run later Saturday and final eliminations are Sunday to determine the event’s winners.


The current record is 3.701 seconds, set by top fuel driver Antron Brown at Reading, Pa., in 2012.

Langdon’s feat was especially noteworthy because his one-car team, owned by famed crew chief Alan Johnson, lost its main sponsorship a month before the Winternationals.

The funding was provided by a prince of the ruling family of Qatar, an oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf where drag racing also is popular. But Qatar’s government pulled the funding without public explanation.

Johnson said Friday that Langdon is committed to racing only in Pomona, and at the next event in Phoenix, unless he can find new sponsors.

The NHRA shortened races for top fuel and its other 300-mph class, funny cars, from the conventional quarter-mile (1,320 feet) in 2008 in the interest of safety, to give drivers a longer shutdown distance in case of accidents.

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