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NHRA

Sep 6 - 2020
Read Time 4 Min

Toyota’s Langdon Wins NHRA U.S. Nationals; Todd Takes Camry To Finals

Sunday, September 6, 2020, Shawn Langdon celebrates his first win of the season at the U.S. Nationals.Toyota’s Langdon Wins NHRA U.S. Nationals; Todd Takes Camry To Finals
Toyota driver Shawn Langdon capped a dominating weekend by defeating Leah Pruett in the Top Fuel finals to win the 66th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, Sunday.  Langdon’s Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd fell just short of matching Langdon in advancing to the final round in Funny Car.

“A lot of hard work has gone into this team after making some changes the past couple of years with me going to Funny Car and then going back to the dragster,” said Langdon. “Working with Connie and the DHL Toyota team, those guys are awesome. We’ve had an awesome car all weekend long. The semis were a little goofy. I had to go change my underwear and then come back for the final. We tested last week in trying to fix some things and in the final, when I hit the gas, I knew we had it if we didn’t smoke the tires. I had a little reaction time advantage. I’m just trying to give everything I’ve got. Everything that Connie has given to this sport and everything that everyone at DHL, Kalitta Air, Toyota, WIX, NGK and Mobil 1 does. Thank you to my team.”

Shawn Langdon

The win is the first for Langdon since returning to the Top Fuel ranks this season and marks his second career U.S. Nationals win after winning in 2013.

After winning the pole position on Saturday, Langdon opened race day up with a win over Joey Haas in round one and then dispatched Cory McClenathan in round two as he registered a pair of 3.72-second passes.  That would set up a wild semifinal showdown with Justin Ashley where both cars were up in smoke almost immediately on the hit. Langdon was able to get back on the gas quicker and went on to win the pedal-fest to advance to the finals against Leah Pruett.

Sunday, September 6, 2020, Shawn Langdon holds his second U.S. Nationals trophy.

In the final round, Langdon would lay down a .015-second reaction time and never trailed as he ran his best pass of the weekend with a 3.705-second run for the victory.

The remaining three Toyota Top Fuel drivers all advanced to the second round on Sunday. Doug Kalitta advanced with a win over Pat Dakin before falling in round two to Ashley by just two-thousandths of a second (.002) on a holeshot.

After eliminating T.J. Zizzo in the opening, Antron Brown had a whopping .044 advantage on the tree over Steve Torrence and stretched it out to .047 by 330’, only to haze the tires around half-track, giving Torrence the win. Tony Schumacher defeated Clay Millican in round one but smoked the tires early against Pruett in round two and shut the car off.
Sunday, September 6, 2020, J.R. Todd drove to his second final round appearance in the last three events on Sunday.
In Funny Car, Todd began his day with his quickest pass of the weekend with a 3.916 in earning the victory over Blake Alexander. In round two, the 2018 Funny Car world champion had an advantage off the line and then went straight down the track to defeat Dale Creasy.  That set up a semifinal matchup with Matt Hagan, where Todd would come from behind to take the lead at the 660’ foot mark and advance to the finals with a 3.946-second pass. In the finals, Todd had an .015 advantage on the tree, but Beckman pulled even at the sixty-foot mark, then pulled away to take the win by .037 seconds.

“I am not going to lie that stings to go to the final round at the biggest race of the year and come up short,” said Todd. “I am really proud of my guys. Ever since we have come back from the break, we have run really strong here at Indy. Ever since I have been in this DHL Toyota Camry it has performed. It goes to show you that Todd Smith, Jon O(berhofer) and the Yella Fellas have a good grasp on this place and keep really good notes. The crew guys are the best. They dig down and work hard and never complain. Todd and Jon are making last second changes up until the last minute. The guys dig deep and get it done. I didn’t drive all that great today. I was living right until the final round. I am just bummed we didn’t pull it off.”

J.R. Todd

Rounding out the Toyota Funny Car contingent, Alexis DeJoria had opened up a .057-second lead by the 330-foot mark against Bob Bode, only to go up in smoke by 660’ in a first-round loss.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will return to action at the Gainesville Dragway for the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, September 25-27.