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Langdon Starts Countdown With First Top Fuel Victory

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 16 2012

Shawn Langdon picked a good time to win his first Top Fuel victory. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Tami Pope)

CONCORD, N.C. – NHRA Top Fuel competitor Shawn Langdon led a quartet of zMAX Dragway first-time winners Sunday, narrowly defeating Tony Schumacher in the four-hour rain delayed O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals.

Other winners at the dragway were: Funny Car, Ron Capps; Pro Stock, Jason Line; and Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines.

Langdon, who was the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive NHRA event, covered the distance in 3.785 seconds at 326.71 mph. Schumacher clocked in with 3.808 at 322.27. The 30-year-old Indianapolis resident’s first career victory came in the opening event of the six-race Countdown to the Championship. The NHRA Full Throttle Series travels to Dallas next weekend.

“The last couple of races the cars have turned around quite a bit,” Langdon said after obtaining the Al-Anabi Racing team’s first victory this season. “It’s definitely me as a driver to build my confidence up a little bit.”

Langdon said he couldn’t have scripted the weekend any better.

“I’m a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason,” Langdon continued. “Eighty-seven races into it I wondered why I haven’t won; am I doing something wrong? I raced with the Lucas team for three years and had a car capable of winning. Coming over here you know the team is built around winning. You get to the Countdown, it comes crunch time and you start to think, ‘Am I doing something wrong because we still haven’t won yet?’”

That changed Sunday for Langdon, who described his team’s performance as “an excellent way to start the Countdown.”

Langdon’s effort was his second appearance in the finals in the last four races and moved him from

Ron Capps started of the Countdown with a victory at zMAX. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Tami Pope)

seventh to third in the standings, 19 points behind leader Schumacher.

For the weekend, Schumacher owned the low E.T. at 3.749, while Doug Kalitta had the top speed at 326.95.

The only top seed in the Countdown not to advance past the first round was Top Fuel’s Antron Brown. The Pittsboro, Ind., resident experienced problems throughout the weekend, qualifying 10th and then losing to Khalid alBalooshi in the first round.

In Funny Car, Capps entered the Countdown as the top seed and left still in the No. 1 position. Capps easily won in the final round, defeating Mike Neff, who faltered at the start.

“Today I felt comfortable running Jim Head, but I was a nervous wreck inside,” Capps said after collecting his fourth victory this season and 37th of his career. “I think that helps me drive. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m confident, but cautiously confident.”

Capps’ Charger turned in the top speed of the weekend – 317.05 mph — but Cruz Pedregon’s Camry owned low E.T. at 4.035. Tim Wilkerson, the No. 1 qualifier, was eliminated by Matt Hagan in the quarterfinals.

In Pro Stock, Shane Gray escaped injury in a scary crash that occurred in the eliminations’ quarterfinal round. Gray was in the left lane, racing Warren Johnson, when he lost control of his Camaro near the finish line. The car slammed into the left wall, rolled onto its roof, then lifted into the air and landed on its right side before rolling back onto its wheels and crashing into the right wall. Gray walked away from his car. He was examined by NHRA Safety Safari officials and released.

Johnson was defeated in the semifinal round by Line, who beat Allen Johnson in the finals when the later

Jason Line picked up a Countdown Wally on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo)

Johnson’s Avenger stumbled at the start and darted towards the center line. Line’s second victory this season and 29th of his career tied him with Cruz Pedregon for 25th on the all-time winners’ list.

“For some reason, these weekends that have adverse weather sometimes end up helping us,” said Line, who closed to within three points of standings’ leader Allen Johnson. “We’ve struggled a lot in the past few months, but our Camaro was bad to the bone today.

“Winning this race is definitely a big way for us to start. It doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it’s still a huge way to start. If you can get any kind of lead at all, it’s going to be a big deal because you have such quality cars (in this class).”

Hines’ Pro Stock Motorcycle victory was his fifth this season and the 30th of his career. It also moved him to within 10 points of Harley-Davidson teammate and standings leader Eddie Krawiec.

Final finish order (1-16) at the Fifth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMax Dragway.  The race is the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1.  Shawn Langdon; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Spencer Massey; 4.  Brandon Bernstein; 5.  Doug Kalitta; 6.  Bob Vandergriff; 7.  Morgan Lucas; 8.  Khalid alBalooshi; 9.  Steve Torrence; 10. Cory McClenathan; 11.  Clay Millican; 12.  Larry Dixon; 13.  Terry McMillen; 14.  Chris Karamesines; 15.  Antron Brown; 16.  David Grubnic.

FUNNY CAR:

1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Mike Neff; 3.  Jack Beckman; 4.  Matt Hagan; 5.  Jeff Arend; 6.  John Force; 7. Cruz Pedregon; 8.  Tim Wilkerson; 9.  Alexis DeJoria; 10.  Todd Lesenko; 11.  Jim Head; 12.  Johnny Gray; 13.  Tony Pedregon; 14.  Robert Hight; 15.  Bob Tasca III; 16.  Courtney Force.

PRO STOCK:

1.  Jason Line; 2.  Allen Johnson; 3.  Vincent Nobile; 4.  Warren Johnson; 5.  Mike Edwards; 6. Larry Morgan; 7.  Dave Connolly; 8.  Shane Gray; 9.  V. Gaines; 10.  Ron Krisher; 11.  Jeg Coughlin; 12.  Ronnie Humphrey; 13.  Frank Gugliotta; 14.  Erica Enders; 15.  Greg Anderson; 16. Lewis Worden.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1.  Andrew Hines; 2.  Eddie Krawiec; 3.  Hector Arana Jr; 4.  Hector Arana; 5.  Michael Ray; 6. Scotty Pollacheck; 7.  Matt Smith; 8.  Shawn Gann; 9.  Chip Ellis; 10.  John Hall; 11.  Karen Stoffer; 12.  Jim Underdahl; 13.  Steve Johnson; 14.  Michael Phillips; 15.  LE Tonglet.

Sunday’s final results from the Fifth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMax Dragway. The race is the 18th of 23 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Shawn Langdon, 3.785 seconds, 326.71 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 3.808 seconds, 322.27 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.067, 315.49  def. Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 10.406, 79.25.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 7.518, 200.20  def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 11.800, 78.71.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 194.49  def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 195.14.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Richard Bourke, 5.373, 266.32  def. Ken Perry, foul.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Frank Manzo, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.575, 260.01  def. John Anderika, Monte Carlo, 5.829, 250.92.

Super Stock — Larry Miller, Plymouth Barracuda, 9.951, 128.90  def. Bryan Worner, Chevy Camaro, 9.908, 134.55.

Stock Eliminator — Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.026, 115.15  def. Larry Hill, Plymouth Baracuda, 10.463, 121.41.

Super Comp — Scot LaMar, Dragster, 8.903, 176.37  def. Sherman Adcock, Dragster, 8.902, 172.47.

Super Gas — Ray Sawyer, Chevy Camaro, 9.912, 166.31  def. Steven Furr, Camaro, 9.912, 152.47.

Final round-by-round results from the Fifth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMax Dragway, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Bob Vandergriff, 3.831, 323.27 def. Steve Torrence, 3.824, 320.58; Khalid alBalooshi, 4.425, 182.43 def. Antron Brown, 4.716, 159.31; Brandon Bernstein, 3.838, 321.50 def. Cory McClenathan, 3.842, 311.92; Shawn Langdon, 3.888, 311.34 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.105, 283.85; Tony Schumacher, 3.793, 324.83 def. David Grubnic, 5.147, 131.99; Spencer Massey, 3.812, 322.73 def. Terry McMillen, 3.949, 314.83; Doug Kalitta, 3.807, 325.92 def. Clay Millican, 3.882, 314.75; Morgan Lucas, 3.808, 325.85 def. Larry Dixon, 3.897, 296.31;

QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.796, 325.45 def. Vandergriff, 3.851, 321.58; Massey, 3.777, 324.36 def. alBalooshi, 5.819, 113.99; Bernstein, 3.822, 324.36 def. Kalitta, 3.827, 323.50; Schumacher, 3.788, 323.66 def. Lucas, 3.865, 262.18;

SEMIFINALS — Langdon, 3.808, 322.19 def. Bernstein, 3.948, 298.73; Schumacher, 3.749, 324.75 def. Massey, 3.804, 321.04;

FINAL — Langdon, 3.785, 326.71 def. Schumacher, 3.808, 322.27.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Jeff Arend, Toyota Camry, 4.335, 305.77 def. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 6.165, 114.33; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.096, 307.58 def. Todd Lesenko, Chevy Impala, 4.223, 293.73; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.069, 312.06 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 5.423, 137.30; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.066, 312.42 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.110, 311.20; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.271, 262.18 def. Johnny Gray, Charger, 5.931, 114.88; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.035, 314.31 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 6.031, 116.83; John Force, Mustang, 4.142, 313.37 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 12.473, 30.42; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.057, 311.56 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 6.313, 108.04;

QUARTERFINALS — Neff, 4.065, 312.57 def. J. Force, 4.129, 314.17; Beckman, 4.063, 310.48 def. Arend, 4.108, 313.44; Capps, 4.064, 313.88 def. C. Pedregon, 4.541, 188.31; Hagan, 4.062, 307.09 def. Wilkerson, 9.461, 81.00;

SEMIFINALS — Neff, 4.050, 314.53 def. Beckman, 4.298, 305.49; Capps, 4.047, 317.05 def. Hagan, 4.343, 218.65;

FINAL — Capps, 4.067, 315.49 def. Neff, 10.406, 79.25.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Dave Connolly, Chevy Cobalt, 6.657, 209.04 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.624, 208.97; Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.639, 207.08 def. Ron Krisher, Pontiac GXP, 6.641, 208.39; Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.658, 208.65 def. Erica Enders, Cobalt, 6.785, 165.25; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.623, 209.98 def. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.665, 208.78; Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.675, 208.39 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 7.215, 155.96; Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.596, 210.21 def. Lewis Worden, Mustang, 9.986, 92.07; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.576, 211.06 def. Frank Gugliotta, Mustang, foul; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.594, 210.73 def. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.644, 208.42;

QUARTERFINALS — W. Johnson, 6.637, 208.36 def. Gray, DQ; Nobile, 6.620, 208.04 def. Connolly, 6.872, 169.32; A. Johnson, 6.585, 210.08 def. Edwards, 6.619, 208.46; Line, 6.567, 210.97 def.

Morgan, 6.643, 206.67;

SEMIFINALS — A. Johnson, 6.567, 211.00 def. Nobile, 6.588, 209.46; Line, 6.554, 211.39 def. W. Johnson, 6.651, 208.71;

FINAL — Line, 7.518, 200.20 def. A. Johnson, 11.800, 78.71.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.984, 191.70 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.989, 191.08; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.927, 189.92 def. John Hall, Buell, 6.981, 190.14; Michael Ray, Buell, 6.950,

191.65 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.032, 190.19; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.899, 194.30 was unopposed; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.900, 193.88 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, foul; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.871, 194.55 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.078, 190.43; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.939, 190.83 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.959, 190.22; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.954, 191.46 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.039, 188.60;

QUARTERFINALS — Arana, 6.893, 192.49 def. Smith, 7.075, 184.09; Arana Jr, 6.914, 190.89 def. Ray, 6.918, 191.76; Hines, 6.871, 192.99 def. Gann, 7.739, 131.28; Krawiec, 6.846, 194.91 def.

Pollacheck, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.858, 193.16 def. Arana, broke; Krawiec, 6.831, 195.45 def. Arana Jr, foul;

FINAL — Hines, 6.862, 194.49 def. Krawiec, 6.858, 195.14.

Point standings (top 10) following the Fifth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMax Dragway, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Top Fuel

1.  Tony Schumacher, 2,170; 2.  Spencer Massey, 2,160; 3.  Shawn Langdon, 2,151; 4.  Antron Brown, 2,142; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 2,105; 6.  Morgan Lucas, 2,099; 7.  Brandon Bernstein, 2,095; 8.  Steve Torrence, 2,093; 9.  Bob Vandergriff, 2,053; 10.  David Grubnic, 2,043.

Funny Car

1.  Ron Capps, 2,230; 2.  Mike Neff, 2,157; 3.  Jack Beckman, 2,152; 4.  Robert Hight, 2,113; 5. Cruz Pedregon, 2,087; 6.  Johnny Gray, 2,081; 7.  Courtney Force, 2,074; 8.  John Force, 2,072; 9.

(tie) Jeff Arend, 2,064; Tim Wilkerson, 2,064.

Pro Stock

1.  Allen Johnson, 2,209; 2.  Jason Line, 2,206; 3.  Vincent Nobile, 2,138; 4.  Greg Anderson, 2,107; 5.  (tie) Mike Edwards, 2,094; Erica Enders, 2,094; 7.  Ron Krisher, 2,063; 8.  Larry Morgan, 2,062; 9.  V. Gaines, 2,052; 10.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,031.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,215; 2.  Andrew Hines, 2,205; 3.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,151; 4.  Hector Arana, 2,139; 5.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,092; 6.  Karen Stoffer, 2,083; 7.  Michael Ray, 2,074; 8.  Shawn Gann, 2,062; 9.  LE Tonglet, 2,061; 10.  Matt Smith, 2,054.

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 16 2012
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