A semifinal finish at the Topeka Nationals last weekend has Shawn Langdon and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel team solidly in the top five in Top Fuel points but more importantly created some momentum for the championship contending team. Back-to-back quarterfinal finishes at the previous two national events laid the groundwork for Topeka’s improvement at just the right time. The defending U.S. Nationals champion will be looking to the NHRA Brainerd Nationals this weekend to continue to grab win lights and consistency with the most prestigious race of the season around the corner.
“Brainerd is an important weekend for this DHL Kalitta Air team,” said Langdon. “We want to build on Topeka’s semifinal finish and keep the consistency that will carry us through Indy and into the Countdown. We are fifth in the points now and we have a good shot at moving up to fourth by the end of the regular season. That would put us forty points out of first place.”
A season opening runner-up finish at the Gatornationals got Langdon off to a hot start. That race was followed up by two semifinal and two quarterfinal finishes. There was a brief three race stretch of early exits before the current three race streak of improvement began.
“We had a few races that didn’t go our way,” said Langdon. “We had some issues in qualifying that put us behind the eight ball and only three qualifying sessions makes it tough to catch up if you don’t make a good right off the trailer. We are making more consistent runs and building momentum throughout the weekend now I feel.”
Brainerd International Raceway is one of the few tracks where Langdon has not raced to at least a final round. The 2013 Top Fuel champion is looking to end that trend this weekend.
2019 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Highlights (event not contested in 2020): In Funny Car – Qual. No. 6; Beat Paul Lee, Bob Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Topeka Nationals): Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Billy Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Career Stats: 278 events, 275 starts, 309 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 230 events, 227 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 270 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 6; Beat Doug Foley, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown; Lost to Josh Hart
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence
Atlanta: Qual. No. 11; Beat Leah Pruett, Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown and Krista Baldwin
Houston: Qual. No. 7; Beat Josh Hart, Justin Ashley; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Epping: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Norwalk: Qual. No. 16; Lost to Steve Torrence
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Antron Brown
Pomona1: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Antron Brown
Topeka: Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Billy Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Kalitta Motorsports PR