The DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster was looking to continue their dominant start to the season on the heels of their runner-up finish at the season opening Gatornationals. The 21st NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals provided the opportunity for Langdon to briefly jump into the points lead after qualifying. Heading into race day the No. 6 qualifier knew he would face some tough competition but the 2013 NHRA Top Fuel world champions also knew he had a race car that could holds its own against any race car on the property.
Langdon was looking for his first Top Fuel four-wide title to add to his 2019 Funny Car four-wide win at the Carolina Nationals. In the opening quad Langdon was racing with teammate Doug Kalitta along with Troy Buff and Rob Passey. Langdon had the confidence he could be one of the first race cars to the finish line. It was a Kalitta Motorsports sweep as Langdon crossed the finish line just behind Kalitta and moved both Top Fuel dragsters to the second quad.
In the second quad Steve Torrence and Leah Pruett joined Langdon and Kalitta. Conditions were changing slightly and Langdon’s team felt they could be a little more aggressive. Unfortunately, the DHL Kalitta Air dragster had a little too much power and when Langdon hit the throttle his 11,000 horsepower land rocket over-powered the track. Langdon saw Kalitta and Torrence pulling away but he feathered the throttle and regained power hoping one of the other two dragster in front of him might run into issues. He ran out of track just over eight seconds after he left the starting line and had to settle for a third place finish in front of Pruett.
“After the first run, we thought we had a great handle on the car and made a great first run,” said Langdon. “We were dragging it back up there, more in a gas-and-go scenario while addressing there was going to be a little more heat on the track. I wasn’t really expecting that (smoking the tires early), sometimes that just happens. In hindsight, there’s really not anything that we did wrong, for some reason it just decided to do that. Unfortunate, I was right there reaction-time with Doug (Kalitta) and Steve (Torrence) and we felt we could have run a .76 or .77. We had a good shot to advance, but we didn’t. We’ll just get ready for Atlanta.”
Langdon will leave Las Vegas No. 2 in Top Fuel points.
Langdon on getting season started “We had a long off-season and then there was about a month between the Gatornationals and this race. I will be glad to get to Atlanta in two weeks and then get into a groove with more races. This DHL team has a lot of talent and I know we can put up some good performance numbers.”
Qualified: No. 6 (3.785 sec., 310.05 mph)
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q1)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 3 .062 3.751 314.39 (W)
Shawn Langdon 6 .082 3.756 320.89 (W)
Troy Buff 11 .134 3.839 284.99
Rob Passey 14 .301 5.236 131.29
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Steve Torrence 2 .051 3.773 322.04 (W)
Doug Kalitta 3 .058 3.768 325.22 (W)
Shawn Langdon 6 .056 8.558 88.61
Leah Pruett 7 .111 10.921 55.03
Kalitta Motorsports PR