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Langdon’s Championship Hopes Rescued By Don Schumacher

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 16 2015
Shawn Langdon will finish the season on loan to Don Schumacher Racing. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

Shawn Langdon will finish the season on loan to Don Schumacher Racing. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

Earlier this week, it appeared that Shawn Langdon would be sitting out the six-race, championship-deciding NHRA Countdown playoff because his Alan Johnson Racing team had run low of operating capital.

But on Wednesday, Don Schumacher Racing came to the rescue.

DSR and AJR announced that former NHRA world champion Shawn Langdon will drive DSR’s Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher/Sandvik Coromant Top Fuel dragster in the Countdown, which begins Friday with the Carolina NHRA Nationals in Concord, N.C.

DSR owner Don Schumacher said he reached an agreement with Alan Johnson to make Langdon an “on-loan” driver to DSR for the six-race Countdown to enable a full 10-car field to contend for the world championship and for the Red Fuel/Sandvik team and Langdon to have a chance to win the prestigious title.

“Alan and I were able to work this out and it benefits everyone,” Schumacher said.

Langdon became available when Alan Johnson Racing, for whom he had driven the past four seasons including 2013 when he won seven races and the Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship, opted to not compete in this year’s last six events due to a lack of sponsorship funding.

“It’s unfortunate that Alan Johnson Racing cannot compete for the Mello Yello championship this year,”  Johnson said.  “Our arrangement with DSR is the best for NHRA drag racing, the best for the fans, the best for Shawn, and it helps out a fellow competitor – it really should work out well for everyone involved.  Sometimes, it’s good to put ‘what’s best for the sport’ ahead of everything else.  I think this circumstance is one of those times.”

“To start the season with Alan Johnson Racing and finish it at Don Schumacher Racing is definitely a unique situation,” Langdon said.  “Everyone at AJR gave it 110 percent all season to try to contend for the championship.  Thanks to Toyota for stepping up for our team in a time of need and giving us that opportunity.  We can’t thank them enough, and we can’t thank the AJR crew guys enough for sticking with us.  It was just unfortunate that we couldn’t find enough funding; it’s disappointing not to be able to finish the season.

“After everything happened, there was an opportunity to race with Don Schumacher Racing to finish the season.  It’s a unique opportunity, but I think it’s a good fit for everyone at DSR as well as for Alan and me.  I am still under contract with Alan Johnson Racing, and we are still working towards getting our team back together in 2016.  But for the next six races, I’ll be driving for Don Schumacher Racing and competing for a championship.  It’s great for the fans to be able to have 10 cars competing for the Mello Yello championship, it’s good for NHRA, and at this point, I think it’s good for everybody.”

Langdon, 33, who lives in Avon, Ind., will replace Khalid alBalooshi who competed at the last race in the Mello Yello Series.

“Khalid helped us when we needed a driver for the U.S. Nationals and this decision is only based on Shawn having qualified for the Countdown and the world championship,” said Schumacher, who hired alBalooshi after former DSR driver Spencer Massey was released late in August.

“Our NHRA fans certainly should see the 10 best drivers battle it out in the Countdown and we are excited that Shawn and our Red Fuel/Sandvik team will be in the fight.”

The Red Fuel/Sandvik team held the 10th and final Countdown spot going into the U.S. Nationals but points “belong” to the driver so the team virtually was eliminated from contention when a new driver was named for the last race of the 18-event season and finished the regular season ranked 11th and only six points outside of the top-10.

Langdon is seeded sixth into the Countdown and 70 points behind DSR points leader Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army) and 40 behind another DSR teammate, Antron Brown, who ranks second.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 16 2015
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