Langdon Lands Kalitta Ride
By John Sturbin/Senior Writer
Team Kalitta will field 2013 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon in a third, full-time team sponsored by Global Electronic Technology beginning with Round 5 of the 2017 schedule later this month at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.
Langdon competed in 30 national events for Don Schumacher Racing while “on loan” from Alan Johnson Racing after the latter team shut down because of a lack of sponsorship. Funding issues also have prevented Langdon from competing for DSR through the first four events of the current Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to drive the Global Electronic Technology dragster,” Langdon, 34, said in a statement from Kalitta’s headquarters in Ypsilanti, Mich. “It’s awesome to see new companies like Global Electronic Technology come into drag racing and I’m excited to be a part of it.
“It’s been a tough year so far with me sitting on the sidelines. It has been the first time since my rookie year in 2009 that I haven’t been able to attend the NHRA races. I cannot thank Connie (Kalitta) and Jim O. (Oberhofer) enough for the opportunity. Kalitta has top-quality cars that contend for wins and championships, so I feel that this partnership will work well.
“I also want to thank Don (Schumacher) and everybody at Don Schumacher Racing for bringing me in when I didn’t have a ride and making me feel like part of the family. We did everything we could to find adequate funding, and I want to thank Don for keeping me on the payroll throughout the process of trying to find sponsorship.”
Langdon won the last NHRA Countdown to the Championship race at Pomona, Calif., in 2015 for DSR and added three more titles in 2016 as a fulltime DSR driver. “Shawn always will be part of the Don Schumacher Racing family,” Schumacher said in a statement from Brownsburg, Ind. “He was a great, great asset to our team and an excellent teammate for our seven other drivers.
“We have been looking for partners to help us run his team, but I will never stand in the way of a driver wanting to race. If I can’t give him that opportunity then I won’t hold him back.”
Like new teammate J.R. Todd, Langdon began his career in the NHRA’s Junior Drag Racing program, capturing a national title in 1997 and a division crown in 1999. Before beginning his nitro career, he logged championship wins in NHRA’s Super Comp division in 2007 and 2008. Since joining the Top Fuel ranks in 2009, Langdon has earned 14 race wins in 28 final-round appearances. The Mira Loma, Calif., native has eight consecutive Countdown to the Championship finishes and claimed the Traxxas Shootout $100,000 bonus in 2013.
“My focus is to contend for a championship,” Langdon said. “We are seven rounds out of the top-10 and we have 14 races to catch up and I’m confident in my chances with the group that Kalitta is putting behind me.”
Global Electronic Technology has over a quarter century of expertise in the credit card payment processing industry. GET is scheduled to be the primary sponsor on Langdon’s car for 19 of the remaining 20 events this season. Steve Bryson is founder/CEO of a company based in Torrance, Calif. Global Electronic Technology first joined Kalitta Motorsports in the offseason as a major associate partner on the Mac Tools’ Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta.
“All of Kalitta Motorsports is excited to represent Global Electronic Technology in this capacity,” said Oberhofer, vice president of operations for Kalitta Motorsports. “Steve and Samantha Bryson have been truly unbelievable to work with and their excitement for the sport of drag racing is infectious.
“I am also thrilled to be able to welcome Shawn Langdon to the Kalitta Motorsports team. Drivers with his record do not become available often, and we are excited to be able to have him join our organization.”
With the addition of Langdon’s team, Kalitta’s crew chief lineup will make a few changes. All three Top Fuel teams will continue to share information and data with the focus on winning races and championships. Oberhofer now will be lead tuner on both the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster of Doug Kalitta and the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster with rookie Troy Coughlin Jr.
Oberhofer will continue to team with Troy Fasching on the Mac Tools ride and will work with Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano on the SealMaster team. The Global Electronic Technology team will be led by team-founder and drag racing pioneer Connie Kalitta _ NHRA’s only Lifetime Achievement honoree _ and Rob Flynn.
The new-look, five-team effort with Top Fuel drivers Doug Kalitta, Coughlin Jr., and Langdon _ and Funny Car drivers Alexis DeJoria and Todd _ will make its debut during qualifying for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals near Houston April 21-23.No Comment