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Shawn Langdon, 41, of Avon, Ind., will compete in the NHRA Midwest Nationals next month at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison.
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MADISON – When Shawn Langdon gets set for the NHRA Midwest Nationals next month at Gateway Motorsports Park, he will be rarin’ to go.
It’s all about speed, smoke and gas. Winning, too. And Langdon, 41, a California native now residing in Avon, Ind., wants nothing more than to prevail at Gateway.
It’s something that has eluded him through a successful career. Gateway is one of the few places where Langdon hasn’t posted a series victory.
“We’re excited to get back to Gateway because it’s a great track and a great facility,” Langdon said. “We’ve had a good enough car to win there, but we haven’t had enough race-day luck.”
He’s counting on changing his luck. Langdon’s fortunes have been rising in the Top Fuel class. A last glance, he was running trailing leader Doug Kalitta by 199 points. He was 123 points behind runner-up Antron Brown, a three-time winner at Gateway.
Brown is the two-time defending champ at the track, but Langdon sees an opportunity to change this during the Sept. 26-28 weekend. He recently was in St. Louis and Langdon, a baseball fan, threw out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals’ game.
“We’ve had a fair year this year,” Langdon said, critiquing his success. “There have been some ups and downs. We’re in a decent place in the point standings and overall, I think we are in a good spot.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Langdon logged seven wins last year in making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Countdown to the Championship NHRA playoffs. He emerged with the Top Fuel championship, the first of his career.
Nevertheless, he needed to make some adjustments for this season and Langdon continues to adapt as warranted. He has one win this season and nine career victories. It’s his third year with the Al-Anabi racing team.
“We put in a new chassis when we were running at Denver and we are slowly progressing,” Langdon said. “We hit a little bump in the road, so we had to change a lot on the car. We basically started from scratch.
“But we needed to go back to Square One to make it work.”
By the time Langdon gets to Gateway, he expects to be humming.
“The track is as good as any we go to in the country,” he said. “And I’m always looking to get my first win at any track.”
Crew chief Brian Husen is prepping Langdon for a strong stretch run.
“He always tells me to take nothing for granted and the competition has stepped up this year, “Langdon said. “We’ll just work harder and grind it out. There’s no room for errors and mistakes – 10 people have to be perfect.”
Practice makes perfect and Langdon is striving to be his best every time he hits the track. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.
“Brian said that when you win, say little. And when you lose, say less,” Langdon quipped.