Langdon Takes Camry to Finals At NHRA New England Nationals

Jason Zindroski Photo

Shawn Langdon earned three round victories on the way to advancing to the Funny Car final at the NHRA New England Nationals at the New England Dragway, Sunday. It marked Langdon’s 32nd career final round in Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competition.

Langdon opened up eliminations with a match-up against Jim Campbell where he had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. That set up a tough second-round assignment versus current Funny Car point leader Robert Hight with Langdon earning the lane choice by making the quicker first-round pass. Hight had a small starting line advantage, but Langdon had the lead by 330 feet. He never trailed from there on for the win, registering his quickest pass of the weekend with a 3.999.

From there, Langdon advanced to the semifinals against Tim Wilkerson. Wilkerson had a starting line advantage and held the lead until just beyond half-track when Langdon chased him down, powering past to earn the victory by 0.011 seconds with a 4.006-second run, despite Wilkerson registering his best run of the weekend.

Langdon would square off against Matt Hagan in the finals in a match-up of the two most dominant cars throughout eliminations – and two of just three to run passes in the 3’s. With track temperatures at their highest of the day, both drivers had strong lights with Hagan inching ahead early. He would never trail, winning a close final round, 4.014-4.046.  

“We just made some great runs today in our Global Electronic Technology Toyota,” said Langdon, who ran four passes at 4.046 or better on the day. “These Global guys made some really good calls to give me a great car. We were able to go some rounds at a critical time of the year as we start to get closer to the Countdown. Each of the runs we were able to do what we were trying to accomplish with the car. Obviously, we had a tough race with Robert Hight in the second round and the car really responded well. We just need to keep progressing and keep making moves. Our Camry is responding well and the guys have been working really hard. We’re heading in the right direction at the right time.”

Langdon’s Kalitta Motorsports Camry Funny Car teammate J.R. Todd was able to advance to the second round today. After winning the pole position on Saturday, Todd received a first round bye before advancing to meet Wilkerson in round two.Todd had a few ticks on the tree, but started to drift out of the groove toward the centerline, giving Wilkerson the win.

After qualifying second, Richie Crampton led the Toyota Top Fuel contingent as he advanced to the semifinals today. In round one against Audrey Worm, Crampton had the starting line advantage and led wire-to-wire for the victory. After receiving a second-round bye, Crampton lined up against eventual winner Steve Torrence in the semifinals. Torrence had the advantage at the starting line, but Crampton moved into the lead by the 330-foot mark before hazing his tires, giving Torrence the win. 

Antron Brown also earned a round win in Top Fuel today over Cameron Ferre before a second-round loss to Scott Palmer, where Brown had a sizeable starting line advantage, but was up in smoke quickly. Doug Kalitta rounded out the Toyota contingent by falling in the first round against Terry McMillen.

After taking next weekend off, the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series kicks off the three-race Western Swing in Denver, July 19-21. 

Toyota Driver ResultsQual./Finish
Funny Car 
Shawn Langdon5/Finals
J.R. Todd1/Rd. 2
Jeff Diehl15/Rd. 1
Top Fuel 
Richie Crampton2/Semifinals
Antron Brown4/Rd. 2
Doug Kalitta3/Rd. 1

2019 Toyota Wins (4)

Top Fuel (2) – Kalitta, Pomona1, Crampton, Gainesville

Funny Car (2) – Todd, Las Vegas1; Langdon, Charlotte1

Notes:

– Shawn Langdon advanced to his second final round of the season after previously winning at Charlotte. It marks the 32nd final round appearance of his Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career.

– Richie Crampton advanced to the semifinals for the second time this year after earlier winning at Gainesville.

– Antron Brown has now won at least one round in each of the last seven events, winning 11 rounds over that span.

– After today’s New England Nationals, all five Toyota drivers are on pace to make the Countdown to the Championship playoffs with just five races remaining in the regular season. In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta remains second, while Antron Brown has climbed up to third, while Richie Crampton remains eighth. J.R. Todd remains sixth in Funny Car with Shawn Langdon holding the tenth and final spot. 

Driver Quotes:

Shawn Langdon, Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry:“We just made some great runs today in our Global Electronic Technology Toyota. These Global guys made some really good calls to give me a great car. We were able to go some rounds at a critical time of the year as we start to get closer to the Countdown. Each of the runs we were able to do what we were trying to accomplish with the car. Obviously, we had a tough race with Robert Hight in the second round and the car really responded well. We just need to keep progressing and keep making moves. Our Camry is responding well and the guys have been working really hard. We’re heading in the right direction at the right time. (What’s your goal for the Western Swing?) To win three races.”

Richie Crampton, DHL Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It was a good day in general for points. We qualified well and that really let us make headway here. We had a big race against Steve Torrence in the semifinals and didn’t quite get the job done. We might have just pushed a little too hard in that right lane. It would appear that the left lane was a little more favorable. It was just one of those deals where it was going to be a close race no matter what and we just pushed a little too hard for the track that we had to work with. We’ve had a good DHL Toyota dragster.  We’re just missing it by the tiniest of amounts here on race day lately. I know it will come around. It speaks volumes for the crew – for Connie (Kalitta) and Kurt (Elliott) and what they’re doing with the car. We’ll keep digging and I’m sure the results will come. All in all, a big weekend and we’re looking forward to getting on to the Western Swing.”

Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster“We’re just going to keep working on our combo, so when it gets hot out that it doesn’t release. Our main goal now is to get this Matco Tools Toyota dragster ready for Denver and the Western Swing. We’re working on it and we need to just keep getting after it. We need to go out to Denver and make sure we make good power and have a good clutch program. With the elevation, it’s a huge change of the way you run the car. We’re going to go out with some stuff that we ran last year and use that as our starting point. We need to go out there and win that race.”

J.R. Todd, DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: “I just got beat in the second round when we spun the tires again. Two runs in a row. Something broke on the car and we still don’t know what it is yet. We need to diagnose it and get the DHL Camry ready to go out to Denver. We’re just going to try to go out and win all three in the Western Swing.”

Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: (How did the drastic change in temperatures affect the car today?) “The guys have a lot of data, so we usually switch it around from day-to-day with the conditions. We just missed it by a little bit today. We have been experimenting a little bit with our disc package with the clutch and we’re probably done with what we were doing. We’re probably going back to what we know works. That’s probably what bit us a little more than anything. It just makes you hungrier and makes you want to dig in and try to make it happen. We’ve had good luck over the years on the Western Swing, especially in Denver and Sonoma. It’s something we’re looking forward to and we’ll definitely be looking at running a little bit further upfront at the next one.”

Toyota DriversFunny Car Points Behind Leader (1079)2019Wins2019W-L Career RacesCareerWinsCareer W-L
6. J.R. Todd825 (-254)116-1221318227-194
10. Shawn Langdon675 (-404)112-1224515275-227
Top Fuel (1278)     
2. Doug Kalitta799 (-479)117-1250245669-450
3. Antron Brown781 (-497)016-1341966719-350
8. Richie Crampton612 (-666)19-12116997-108

Toyota Drivers NHRA Epping Eliminations Round-by-Round

Funny CarRd. 1 Win-Loss Rd. 2 Win-LossSemis Win-LossFinals Win-Loss
LangdonW –Campbell,4.036-4.062 W – Hight, 3.999-4.103 L – Wilkerson, 4.006-4.053 L – Hagan, 4.014-4.046
ToddW – Bye,4.540 L – Wilkerson, 4.242-4.274****
DiehlL – Tasca,4.006-4.568 ******
Top Fuel    
CramptonW – Worm,3.827-4.020 W – Bye, 4.176 L – Torrence, 3.832-4.062**
BrownW – Ferre,4.018-4.406 L – Palmer,4.252-6.843****
KalittaL – McMillen,3.867-7.563******

Toyota Racing PR

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