After spending the last two seasons in a Kalitta Motorsports Camry Funny Car, Shawn Langdon will make the transition back to Top Fuel, where he won the 2013 world championship, this season. In recording two Funny Car wins last season, he became the 17th driver in NHRA history to earn a win in both Top Fuel (14) and Funny Car.
– Langdon will be returning to his home track in Pomona for the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. Having grown up 20 miles outside of Pomona, Langdon has registered four Top Fuel wins at the track, sweeping both the Winternationals and NHRA Finals in both 2013 and 2015.
How did your return to Top Fuel come about?
It was an opportunity that presented itself with Connie Kalitta wanting to go to three cars. They asked me if I wanted to go back to drive for him again in the dragster and it was absolutely. I raced with him in 2017. We had a great year and ended on a great note with two runner-up finishes and a semi-final in the final three races. So it’s good to be back racing with the DHL Toyota team. I’m excited for this year.
Do you have a preference between Top Fuel and Funny Car?
I just want to race. If that means racing a Funny Car…perfect. If that means racing a dragster…perfect. I like racing. To me, it doesn’t matter what I race, I just enjoy having an opportunity to compete and compete for wins and a championship.
How important was it to win and be a contender in Funny Car before you returned to Top Fuel?
I’ve always had the nature that whatever car I get in, I want to be competitive. I don’t come out here to race and not win. So whatever I get in, I try to give 100 percent every time. I just try to be a part of a team that’s going to be a championship contender and we were able to have two great years in Funny Car and got two wins out of it. It would be nice, maybe one day in the future, to go back and maybe get a championship in Funny Car, but I’m very pleased to be back working with Connie, Kurt Elliott and the whole DHL team.
Were you able to take away anything from Funny Car and apply it back running Top Fuel?
Nothing. A Funny Car is just so different than a dragster. Really the only thing I learned in Funny Car that I can apply to Top Fuel is how to deep stage (laughing).
You’ve had a lot of success at Pomona, what would another Winternationals win mean to you?
It’s exciting to get back there and get the season started. Obviously, Pomona is a home race for me, so it’s always neat to go back and race in front of my family and friends at a place where I grew up watching my heroes. It’s also the first race of the season, so it’s exciting just to get the season going. It’s good to have enjoyed the success we’ve had there, that’s what you strive for. Some tracks you go to you seem to find the Winner’s Circle and some tracks it seems like you’re always looking for early flights out on Sunday. Fortunately, Pomona is one of those tracks for me where I seem to have great success at. Hopefully, we can start out with another win. That would be awesome.
Can you talk about the addition of two new sponsors in Mobile 1 and NGK Spark Plugs?
It’s great to bring in some prestigious new partners. NGK and Mobil 1 are new to us on the marketing front, but they are great companies that have played a huge role in our sport. So we’re very happy to have them on board and very happy to work with them and showcase their products to the world.
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