Western Swing treks west where Langdon, Red Fuel team look to pick up third win of the season at this weekend's Sonoma Nationals
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Sonoma Raceway is a fan-favorite destination for drag racing and for Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon, a highlight on the 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour.
This weekend's second stop on the annual Western Swing is the 29th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals and Langdon is ready to return to sea level to let his 10,000-horsepower nitro machine breathe after being deprived of oxygen at the mile-high altitude of last weekend's event near Denver where the Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher/Sandvik Coromant team finished in the quarterfinals.
"A couple of the races that we ran before going to Denver, we should have similar conditions to that at Sonoma," Langdon said. "Sonoma is a great place. There's always great air and you can make a lot of power there. It's just a matter of using our notes from the last few races which we felt very confident with.
"We were able to make some good runs at those races before Denver so hopefully we can parlay that information over to Sonoma. I always enjoy going there. Sonoma is a great facility, a good track. The crowds are always great there. It's definitely one my top-five tracks that we go to."
Langdon has two event titles this season and is ranked sixth in Top Fuel points standings with the Red Fuel team led by crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler. Only four races remain before the points are reset for the annual Countdown to the Championship six-race playoff that begins near Charlotte in September.
"We just have to keep doing what we're doing," he said. "We have a good car. We had a good car in Denver. We've really had a good car the last eight races. We are capable of winning at every event we go to. Heading into the Countdown, I think it's more just a matter of doing a little bit of fine tuning.
"There's a couple of little areas that we feel like we can improve on with our setup. But I think for the majority, I feel like this team is ready to go for the Countdown. We will definitely use these next couple of races to fine tune everything within the racecar, we will do a little bit of testing before Indy and the Countdown."
The Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals kicks off with nitro qualifying at 5:15 p.m. Friday and Sunday's championship eliminations will be broadcast live on FOX national network on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
SHAWN LANGDON: Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher/Sandvik Coromant
Last event Denver, July 22-24: Qualified No. 7, lost in second round to Antron Brown
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 10, lost in first round to Larry Dixon
Career at Sonoma: Wins 1 (2013), Runner-ups 1 (2014), Poles 0
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 6th 14 2 0 2 4 6 0 0 16-12
CAREER 178 13 14 34 55 59 18 3 216-162
Best Time, Speed:3.662 sec. (quickest ever, 2015, Brainerd); 334.15 mph (both with Alan Johnson Racing)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,145 ------
2. Doug Kalitta (3) 1,088 -57
3. Steve Torrence (2) 982 -163
4. Brittany Force (2) 953 -192
5. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 916 -229
6. SHAWN LANGDON (2) 800 -345
7. JR Todd 799 -346
8. Clay Millican 681 -464
9. Richie Crampton 660 -485
10. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 553 -592